ITF rules on Israel and Ukraine Davis Cup venues
LONDON (AP) — The International Tennis Federation ruled Tuesday that Davis Cup matches will be moved out of Ukraine and Israel because of security issues in both countries.
The ITF board of directors rejected an appeal by the Israel Tennis Association against last week’s decision to switch the Sept. 12-14 World Group playoff against Argentina to a neutral venue because of the conflict in Gaza. The match had been scheduled to be played in Tel Aviv.
The ITF said Israel has until Thursday to nominate a venue in another country.
“The Board agreed with the Davis Cup Committee that it was the ITF’s duty to ensure the safety of players, officials and spectators, and that there was a lack of certainty as to the security situation in Israel at the date of the tie,” the federation said.
The board also upheld an appeal by Belgium against the decision to play its World Group playoff against Ukraine, also on Sept. 12-14, in Kiev.
“The tie will no longer be played in Ukraine,” it said.
Ukraine has five working days to nominate a neutral venue.
“While the recent political unrest had occurred in eastern Ukraine, a disturbance in Kiev’s Independence Square as recently as last Thursday indicated that the security situation there was fluid,” the ITF said.
If Israel and Ukraine propose neutral venues that are accepted by the Davis Cup Committee, they will be considered the home nations and can choose the court surfaces.
If they refuse, the committee has the right to decide that the matches be held on neutral ground or in Belgium and Argentina.
“It is always a very difficult decision for the ITF to take away choice of ground,” ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said. “However, the safety of players, officials and spectators has to take priority and the Board believed that it was not prudent to hold ties in Ukraine or Israel because of political unrest in these countries at the present time and for the foreseeable future.”