Pakistan Tennis Federation to appeal against neutral venue, says ITF and AITA have lowered their stature

The Pakistan Tennis Federation has decided to appeal against the ITF's decision to shift the India vs Pakistan Davis Cup tie to a neutral venue.

The Pakistan Tennis Federation says it will appeal the ITF's decision and is insistent on hosting the Davis Cup tie against India at home in Islamabad. (Representative Image)   -  Reuters Photo

The Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) decided on Wednesday to appeal against the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) decision to shift their Davis Cup tie against India to a neutral venue, saying the world governing body and the Indian tennis federation have lowered their stature with this move.

The ITF, on Monday, took the call to move the tie moved out of Islamabad, citing security concerns.

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“We had a meeting today on this decision and we have decided to send our appeal to ITF tomorrow (Thursday). It’s unfortunate. But life goes on. We are appealing against it and it’s our right. We are asking ITF to rethink the decision and allow the tie in Islamabad,” PTF President Salim Saifullah told PTI.

“There is no terrorism, no war and no natural disaster. I don’t know why the Indians are worried. Thousands of Indians are coming to Pakistan everyday. Only the tennis players did not want to come. It (the tie) has become a joke. Both ITF and Indian federation have lowered their stature,” he added.

According to the Davis Cup Rules and Regulations, rule 30.2.5 states that a nation may lose its choice at any time if the Davis Cup Committee considers that it is not possible or practicable for the opposing nation to reach or play at the venue chosen for the tie, due to (for example) an incident such as war, political unrest, terrorism or natural disaster.

Further, rule 30.2.7 states that the appeal shall not take the form of a de novo review but instead shall be limited to a consideration of whether the decision being appealed was erroneous. It means that Pakistan’s chances to get the appeal reversed are slim.

Pakistan had opted to host India on grass courts but they will find it hard to get that surface on a neutral venue.

RELATED| AITA on sticky wicket after shift in venue

Initially, the Indian team had not expressed much concern about travelling to Pakistan but when the relations between the two nations downgraded following revocation of Article 370, the top players and then captain Mahesh Bhupathi had expressed apprehensions about their safety in Islamabad.

After multiple requests made by the AITA for a neutral venue, ITF finally asked PTF on Monday to nominate a neutral venue. No Indian Davis Cup squad has travelled to Pakistan since March 1964 and in that tie, held in Lahore, India had won 4-0. If ITF had insisted on India sending a team to Islamabad, it would have become first Indian team to travel to Pakistan in 55 years.

Pakistan had hosted Uzbekistan, Korea, Thailand and Iran in the last two years with only Hong Kong refusing to travel to that country. However, the scenario changed after rising diplomatic tension between India and Pakistan.