Just Stop Oil blamed for hours-long queues at Wimbledon as tennis fans miss out on games they paid to see

4 July 2023, 09:42 | Updated: 4 July 2023, 12:36

Anti-Just Stop Oil measures have been blamed for Wimbledon delays
Anti-Just Stop Oil measures have been blamed for Wimbledon delays. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Just Stop Oil has been blamed for huge queues that have forced Wimbledon fans to wait half a day to get into the tournament.

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Tennis fans have faced waiting from the early hours into the afternoon to get into the SW19 venue.

Some 10,000 lined up on the first day as security seized deodorant and sun cream, with powders, glue, chains and cable ties also explicitly banned.

It has left spectators missing games they had paid to see as part of a new anti-protest plan, which has been brought in as eco-activists target major sporting events.

Read more: Pride protest aimed to raise awareness of ‘genocidal new oil and gas licenses’, Just Stop Oil spokesperson says

London-based events manager Becky Deeming said she had got to the venue at 3.30am but only got in at 1.30pm.

She said: "A steward told me security is holding everything up because there were protesters at the Ashes and they are worried the same will happen here so they are checking more thoroughly."

Wimbledon fans have endured huge queues
Wimbledon fans have endured huge queues. Picture: Alamy
Wimbledon organisers are hoping to avoid eco-protest disruption
Wimbledon organisers are hoping to avoid eco-protest disruption. Picture: Alamy

All fans have to go through rigorous security checks where their bags are checked. Undercover police are also trying to spot protesters in the queues.

Security is so tight that Wimbledon's organisers warned anyone found possessing a banned item could be thrown out.

Read more: Jonny Bairstow hailed a ‘swift-handed hero’ by Rishi Sunak after hauling eco-activists off Ashes pitch

The All England Lawn Tennis Club will be hoping to avoid the recent Ashes game where Jonny Bairstow had to drag a Just Stop Oil activist as the group invaded Lord's and threw orange powder around.

In May, they invaded as Sale Sharks and Saracens started the Rugby Premiership final at Twickenham.

Home secretary Suella Braverman will meet with culture secretary Lucy Frazer, police bosses and sporting organisers to discuss how to stop summer events being disrupted by eco-protesters.

Wimbledon queues have been triggered by heavy security
Wimbledon queues have been triggered by heavy security. Picture: Alamy

But the long waits have infuriated visitors, with The Telegraph reporting fan Farhan Arbrol as saying he had queued since 6am but was not pass security by midday.

"This is the worst tournament I've been to yet. They didn't have enough security it seems," he said.

The All England Club's chief executive Sally Bolton said she hopes the tournament will be free of Just Stop Oil's disruption.

"We are really confident in the measures that we’ve taken but I think as we've seen at other sporting events we can't guarantee anything but we're extremely confident that the measures we've got in place are the right measures and we are ready to deal with something if it happens," she said.

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