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Sports


Postpone or take it to a neutral venue, says AITA

New Delhi, Aug 14 (UNI) The All India Tennis Association (AITA) on Wednesday asked the world governing body International Tennis Federation (ITF) to either postpone the Davis Cup tie against Pakistan in Islamabad next month or take it to a neutral venue as it is not sure of players' security in that country.
"In the current situation, there are two options which the ITF Board of Directors may want to consider: Postpone the specific Davis Cup Tie to November/December by which time hopefully the situation would have stabilised, or
"Since the current situation does not seem to be conducive, in our opinion subject to our reading the report of your security consultants, ITF Board of Directors suo motu by itself may decide to shift this particular Davis Cup tie to a neutral venue at ITF's cost," AITA said in a mail addressed to ITF Executive Director Justine Albert.
On Tuesday, The Mahesh Bhupathi led Indian Davis Cup team urged the AITA to ask the ITF for a netural venue for the upcoming tie.
Albert had said that the ITF is satisfied with the current security arrangements in Islamabad and asked why the AITA had not secured visas.
"We are surprised and very concerned that the AITA has not secured visas as yet, despite receiving the visa invitation letter on 23 July. As per the Davis Cup Regulations, it is the responsibility of the visiting nation to complete the requirements for visa applications...," Albert said.
However, The Indian body expressed disappointment over ITF's reply and said that ITF needs to take note of the fact that our neighbouring country has downgraded diplomatic relations with India.
''W do not have an Ambassador any longer in Islamabad. Trains and bus services between the two country have been suspended. There is lot of undercurrent of tension in Pakistan," said the mail by AITA secretary general Hironmoy Chatterjee. Apart from these, air space has also been shut off for Indian planes.
The Indian body has also requested for a telephonic conversation with ITF security consultants on August 16.
''A telephonic call can be held between AITA and ITF security consultants on Friday, the 16th August 2019 since 15th August is a holiday in India for Independence Day. If AITA is satisfied with the security arrangements and discussion between our respective teams everything will be in order. In case AITA is not satisfied, we would request the Board of Directors of ITF to give us a hearing on our views in matters relating to security for this particular Davis Cup tie. We request that this meeting can be held through telephone also early next week,'' mail read.
No Indian Davis Cup team has travelled to Pakistan since 1964 and even a bilateral cricket ties between the two countries has not taken place since the Mumbai terror attack.
Since 2017, Pakistan have played four of their five home ties in Islamabad, hosting Korea, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Iran. Hong Kong had refused to travel to Pakistan in 2017, giving them a walkover.
The last time Pakistan played on a neutral venue was when it hosted China in Colombo in 2016. In 2015, Pakistan played both their home ties on neutral venues. They played Chinese Taipei in Turkey while hosting Kuwait in Colombo.
Sports minister Kiren Rijijiu on Monday said that since the Asia Oceania Group 1 tie is not a bilateral series and the world body is involved in hosting of the Davis Cup, they can't stop tennis players from travelling to Pakistan.
UNI AKC SRJ 1946
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