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Australia refuse to send Davis Cup team to India
« on: April 25, 2009, 05:59:17 AM »

: Australia will not send its Davis Cup team to India for next month's tie because of security concerns, Tennis Australia (TA) said on Satur
day, knowing the country could now face a year-long ban and substantial fine.

TA had appealed the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) decision to keep the May 8-10 Asia/Oceania group I tie in Chennai, citing security concerns.

The ITF on Friday, however, rejected the appeal and upheld the decision of the Davis Cup committee to keep the tie in the southern Indian city, which is considered by Indian authorities to be a safe destination.

The ITF had based its original decision to keep the tie in India after a review by its security consultants.

"The ITF decision has left us with no other option," Tennis Australia president Geoff Pollard said in a statement.

"We cannot send the team. It is extremely disappointing.

"It would be irresponsible of us to send our players into an area of such high risk. Davis Cup is very important to us but some things are more important than tennis."

Security in the sub-continent has been called into question following the ambush of the Sri Lanka cricket team's bus in Lahore, Pakistan, last month.

The incident triggered concern that sport could become a target for more attacks in south Asia. India also remains nervous after Islamist militants killed more than 150 people in a three-day attack in Mumbai in November.

The Indian cricket board moved the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 league to South Africa after the government said providing security would be a problem due to clash of dates with the general election.

Davis Cup captain John Fitzgerald said he was angry with the ITF's decision and pointed to events surrounding the election that suggested security forces were being stretched.

"It is just irresponsible. Surely some thought must be given to the players' safety," Fitzgerald said.

"I believe they say the election is not a cause for concern, the IPL moving is not relevant and that an ATP tournament held in January shows it is safe to play in Chennai.

"So what about the fact that dozens of people are being killed along the campaign trail of the election? A train was hijacked this week, but that does not alter their thoughts? Did the IPL move for no reason?

"This decision makes no sense. We have worked so hard to get back in to World Group contention, to have it snatched away like this is gut wrenching."

Under Davis Cup rules, TA now could be banned from the competition for 12 months and face a substantial fine.

Three weeks ago the ITF banned the city of Malmo from hosting future Davis Cup ties for five years and fined Swedish tennis officials $25,000 after the host nation decided to stage the World Group tie against Israel behind closed doors.
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