ITF rejects Pakistan’s plea for neutral Davis Cup venue

By Omar Khalid, IANS,

Karachi : The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has rejected Pakistan’s demand to shift its Davis Cup second-round tie against the Philippines to a neutral venue, the country’s tennis chief said Saturday.

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Dilawar Abbas, the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) president, told IANS that he has received a letter from the ITF boss that the tie will have to be played in Manila this July.

“We have been told by the ITF that according to their rules and regulations, the Davis Cup tie cannot be shifted to a neutral venue and will be played in Manila,” said Abbas.

The July 10-12 ties was supposed to be hosted by Pakistan in Lahore but was switched to Manila after the Philippines raised security concerns about playing in Pakistan. Its request was accepted by ITF in the wake of the terrorist attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore.

Pakistan strongly opposed the move and asked the ITF to reconsider the decision. However, after their plea was rejected, the PTF demanded that the tie should be moved to a neutral venue like Malaysia or Singapore.

Pakistan said it is concerned about its players’ safety in the Philippines – a country that is also dogged by violence.

However, ITF said that after a security review of the Philippines the federation reached the conclusion that Manila was a safe venue for the Davis Cup tie.

In reply, the PTF has sought a security plan for its players that would be prepared by Philippines within the next few weeks.