Sweden Punished by ITF

Apr 9, 2009

Malmo city and the Swedish tennis federation has felt the wrath of the ITF, with both being punished for the decision to have Davis Cup first round tie against Israel played behind closed doors. Sweden faced Israel on the 6-8th March, and the matches were feared to spark violence over Israel’s behaviour in Gaza, so there were no spectators at the stadium in Malmo.

The International Tennis Federation had a committee to look into the decision and it didn’t take long for them to make their own; they came down swift and hard. Their biggest problem was the fact that no-one was allowed to see the two nations compete. And therein lies a certain, albeit obvious problem. If there aren’t spectators, particularly in a tournament such as the Davis Cup, then what on earth is the point?

Still, the ITF have really done their all to punish the decision. For their troubles, the city of Malmo has been banned for five years from hosting the Davis Cup. And the Swedish Tennis Federation has been given a fine of $25000 and then an additional £15000 which would have been collected during the matches in the form of gate receipts. Sweden requested that this fine, out of all the others, be removed. But the Davis Cup stalwartly denied to waive the fine; they really are taking this seriously.

And on top of all that, Sweden will suffer an automatic loss over Choice of Ground if a similar situation were to occur in the next tie. If the Swedish Tennis Association wants to give a contract to a particular host city, then they have to confirm in writing that the public will be allowed to see the match.

Whether it is truly deserved is another thing. It was a ridiculous decision to close the match to the public just because of political pressure; I find myself agreeing with the Swedish tennis federation chairman when he says: ‘It’s an unfortunate consequence of individual politicians trying to score political points’. And yes, that what was the punished party said. The Swedish tennis federation are in fact blaming the government in the city of Malmo for the decision, saying that the city had had no support from them to make the decision.

Whoever should be targeted as making the poor choice to hold matches behind closed doors, it seems as though the big-wigs in tennis also believe that politics doesn’t have a place in tennis.   

 

 

-          SophieG

 

Written by: SophieG

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