Saturday, 9 August 2014

The Israel Tennis Association appeals the ITF decision on the Israel-Argentina Davis Cup tie

The ITF's Davis Cup Committee has recently announced its decision on the location of two Davis Cup ties scheduled to take place on September 2014. While Ukraine is currently allowed to host Belgium in Kiev, it was determined that Israel wouldn't be able to host Argentina in the Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv.

Yesterday, the ITA (Israel Tennis Association) submitted an official appeal to the ITF.

The Israeli appeal quotes several precedents which the ITA feels should affect the decision regarding the tie's location. First, it quotes the parallel decision on holding the Ukraine-Belgium tie in Kiev.
"The tie in Ukraine is confirmed to be played in Kiev despite the civil unrest and an ongoing war in the East of the country.
[...] the ITF has approved the home match being staged in Kiev, based on the fact that it is believed that secure environment may be provided for both teams.
[...] We agree that the fighting is away from Kiev, and we totally support the Ukrainian Tennis Federation in their ability and knowledge to provide the required arrangements for the tie."
Similarly, the ITA is suggesting to move the tie with Argentina from Tel Aviv to Haifa, since
"a) The Haifa Area is far away of the Gaza Strip and life in Haifa continued as normal even during the difficult days of the military activities in Gaza.
b) Israeli security is one of the best in the world, and "arranging necessary needs" would be an understatement regarding the security measures to be taken."
Next, the ITA brings examples of ties which were held on different dates than their original schedule. Specifically, there are ties being played on October 24-26, and there is the week of the Davis Cup Final in November. The ITF, in its original decision, stated that the tie can't be moved to November, due to several reasons - there's no guarantee that the security situation will be different; it will hurt the players' rest period; it clashes with the Davis Cup final; finally - it will delay the draw for the 2015 season and will prevent proper preparation for the new season by all the other countries.
"Even if the ITF decides that playing in Israel in September is not possible - there are another OFFICIAL Davis Cup weeks during 2014. All national [associations] must make themselves available during these designated weeks and it is an integral part of the tennis year."
The ITA add that the 2nd Round Play Off in Europe/Africa Group I or in Asia/Oceania Group I are both played on October 24-26, which is an alternative to playing during the Davis Cup final. To support their request to postpone the tie, the ITA bring an example of a rescheduled tie between China and Vietnam.
"'The ITF Davis Cup Committee approved the change of dates based on the vast social significance of Chinese New Year in both countries and the operational difficulties it would create for the host National Association, players, public and sponsors if the ties were played over the weekend of 31 January-2 February 2014.'
This is a quote from the Davis Cup Website about postponing China vs. Vietnam tie early in 2014.
This is a great proof of one of the Davis Cup values: 'To strive placing people in the heart of everything they do' (BNP Paribas and Davis Cup values - ITF website)"
 The ITA adds that moving the tie to a neutral ground
[... involves] not just the operational difficulties (as described in CHN vs. VIE tie) - it is a forced cancellation of all activities including crowd's experience, players' attitudes, huge financial losses for the national association and local sponsors.
The final paragraphs of the appeal say:
"We call upon the Board of Management to review the inconsistency and discrepancy of the decisions made in the above two cases and request that reconsideration be given to return the hosting of the tie to Israel, either in Tel Aviv or Haifa, and either in September, October or November.

To sum up I would like to emphasis how extremely important it is (especially during these tough times), for Israel as a country, for the Israeli people in general and for the sport in Israel in particular, to host this prestigious event at this time or at a later date.

Sincerely yours
Shlomo GLICKSTEIN
CEO, Israel Tennis Association"
A decision on the appeal will be made by the ITF on August 12, 2014. Meanwhile, the ITA has until August 14 to submit an alternative venue (on neutral ground) for the ITF's consideration. If Israel doesn't choose a neutral venue, the ITF can decide to hold the tie in Argentina or in a neutral venue of its own choice. If the tie is held in Argentina, Israel will have choice of ground in the next two ties between the countries.

All the aforementioned quotes are direct excerpts from the official appeal submitted by the ITA to the ITF. The Hebrew translation of the full appeal can be found on the ITA website.

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