International Tennis Federation President David Haggerty has said the ITF has lost half of its income in the first half of 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic ©ITF

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced a staff furlough programme and significant pay cuts as part of its response to the severe economic hit caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The body is furloughing approximately half of its 133 staff.

ITF President David Haggerty told insidethegames that, while the majority of staff were located in the United Kingdom, "several" of those affected by the furlough programme lived elsewhere.

He said those furloughed would "all be paid 80 per cent of their salary".

He added: "We will take advantage of the UK Government programme, with the ITF covering the costs above the Government subsidy."

Most remaining staff are to continue working with a 10 per cent salary reduction.

Salaries of the "Senior Leadership Team" will drop by 20 per cent, while Haggerty himself has taken a 30 per cent reduction "for the year".

Questioned on full economic consequences of the pandemic for the organisation, Haggerty revealed that close to 50 per cent of ITF-related activity had been postponed in the first half of this year, accounting for approximately 50 per cent of income.

He also disclosed, for the first time, that the body’s annual income in 2019 had risen significantly to $88.7 million (£70 million/€80 million).

Last year saw the inaugural edition of a restructured Davis Cup, played as an 18-team competition across a single week in late November.

This now appears propitious, with Haggerty confirming that the 2020 Davis Cup Finals in Madrid - capital of Spain, a country hit particularly hard by the virus - are currently still planned to go ahead.

The ITF has announced a staff furlough programme and significant pay cuts in response to the coronavirus pandemic ©ITF
The ITF has announced a staff furlough programme and significant pay cuts in response to the coronavirus pandemic ©ITF

Previously, the famous men's team event, which dates back to 1900, had featured knockout ties played across the world throughout the year, in the lead-up to a final between the surviving two nations. 

The ITF President said that "all ITF events and professional tennis" had been postponed "through to July 12 2020".

This year’s edition of the Wimbledon Championships was cancelled last week.

According to the ITF, more than 900 tournaments have been postponed in total across all its circuits.

But Haggerty made clear that the ITF had not yet had to reimburse any media contracts, "as the Fed Cup Finals were postponed and Davis Cup playoffs and Finals are scheduled later in the year".

Asked whether the organisation’s contract with SportRadar made allowance for a situation in which no tennis was being played, Haggerty replied: "Our contract takes into account the number of matches annually.

"SportRadar is very familiar with the situation and we are in frequent communication with them."

Asked what was happening regarding the expected $25 million (£20 million/€22.5 million) Olympic dividend, the bulk of which would normally have been paid over by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after the Tokyo 2020 Games in around September, Haggerty responded: "We are in discussions with the IOC regarding their plans for funding [International Sport Federations] in 2020, but are unsure at this time."

The ITF said it was "committed to taking a fair and equal approach to the multiple stakeholders affected by the challenges we now face, while ensuring the organisation as a whole can continue to operate effectively".

It was "constantly reviewing our activity and operations in order to minimise the impact of this pandemic on stakeholders, players, officials and staff, concentrating our efforts on addressing the areas that are within our authority to control".

Haggerty described the current situation as "a fundamental challenge to our organisation and our sport".

The ITF was, he said, "making difficult decisions in the short term so that we can continue to deliver tennis for future generations across the globe".