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November 6, 2019

PTF to challenge ITF decision to shift Davis Cup tie


November 6, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) has decided to lodge an appeal with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Committee against its decision to shift the Davis Cup tie from Islamabad to a neutral venue.

Salim Saifullah Khan, president PTF, has confirmed that the unexpected decision would be challenged. “We are about to write an appeal to the ITF, challenging their decision as to why the tie has been moved to a neutral venue when all other international events are being staged in Pakistan. The ITF Security team has already given thumbs up to the security measures being adopted to host the tie on November 29-30 in Islamabad,” Salim said.

Citing different reasons including the on-going ‘Dharna’ by a religious political party in Islamabad, the ITF said it had decided to hold the forthcoming Asia/Oceania Davis Cup tie between Pakistan and India at a neutral venue.

According to an ITF handout issued the other day, the venue for the November 29-30 Davis Cup tie will be announced in a few days after consultation with the PTF.

Following a review of the latest advice given by ITF’s independent security advisers, the Davis Cup committee has decided to shift the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie between Pakistan and India on Nov 29 and 30 to a neutral venue. It added that the safety of athletes, officials and spectators was the first priority, the ITF handout said.

The PTF president said that the Dharna was confined to a small part of the city that had nothing to do with sports activities. “Everywhere in the world, especially in democratic countries, political parties keep staging such protests. This happens everywhere in the world. Singling out Pakistan is unjust and uncalled for,” Salim said.

The PTF president said that Pakistan hosted Sri Lanka cricket team recently and was about to host an international badminton event in Islamabad. “Pakistan has kept on hosting Davis Cup ties, international cricket, badminton, hockey and other leading sports events in recent times. Why has the ITF singled out tennis? We will take up these matters with the ITF in our appeal which is expected to be sent to the Davis Cup Committee on Wednesday (today),” he added.

India had sent the list of their team members for their travelling arrangements. “India knew well that the team they had finalised for the tie against Pakistan was not capable of beating Pakistan at the grass courts in Islamabad. This lobbying by Indians is an outcome of their fear of losing against the likes of Aisam-ul-Haq and Aqeel Khan on their favourite courts. They only stand a chance at a neutral venue,” Salim said.

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