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Wimbledon rules hit the corporate luncher

Corporate entertaining has never had it so tough. Wimbledon, one of the highlights of the UK social calendar, is unveiling its rebuilt No 1 Court at this month's grand slam tennis championships. But the dynamic new era threatens to spoil the fun for those who are there to impress clients.

The new court has increased the seating at the ground and with it the debenture ticket allocation. But this has caused a problem for debenture holders who have seats on Centre Court and No 1 Court and want to mix with their guests at lunchtime.

The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club won't allow Centre Court ticket holders into the No 1 Court lounge, or vice versa. So corporate entertainers and their guests can eat together only in the less impressive restaurant with all the regular punters, unless of course they have their own hospitality tent.

The decision to segregate the groups was taken at a board meeting of the All England Club which decided that "a flow of debenture holders between the lounges might lead to overcrowding".

However, Wimbledon has failed to inform those affected, and most ticket holders - including various investment banks - will find out only when the matches begin.

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