Davis Cup tie to be played in Pakistan as tribunal rejects India's appeal over security

"Pakistan has every right to host the tie," Davis Cup Committee decides

Pakistan tennis player Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi during a match with a fellow player. — AFP/File
Pakistan tennis player Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi during a match with a fellow player. — AFP/File

  • Tribunal upholds ITF decision saying ‘no solid reason’ in appeal.
  • DCC’s decision to hold tie in Pakistan has solid grounds, it adds.
  • Pakistan has defeated India’s point of view twice on int'l fora.

ISLAMABAD: Rejecting India’s appeal against the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Davis Cup Committee’s (DCC) decision, the Chair of the Independent Tribunal said the Davis Cup tie between Pakistan and India will be held in Pakistan, The News reported on Saturday.

The 15-member DCC earlier accepted the Pakistan Tennis Federation's (PTF) arguments, making it clear that Pakistan has every right to host the tie to be held in the first week of February in Islamabad.

On appeal of the All India Tennis Association (AITA) against the decision, an independent tribunal was formed. The tribunal upheld the ITF decision saying since there was no solid reason for not playing the match in Pakistan, hence, the Pakistan-India Davis Cup tie will be held on February 4, 2024, in Islamabad.

Judge David Casserly (Sports Resolution UK) rejected AITA's appeal against the committee’s decision to allot the tie to Pakistan.

After going through all the relevant documents submitted by both parties — ITF Committee/Pakistan Tennis Federation and AITA, the Tribunal upheld the decision maintaining that all the reasons quoted by the AITA (such as raising Pakistan’s general elections and law and order issues) seeking a neutral venue held no worth.

"The DCC’s decision to hold the tie in Pakistan has solid grounds and it is pertinent on all the nations to visit the venue (country) selected by the DCC for the Davis Cup ties," the Tribunal said.

It is the first time that Pakistan has defeated India’s point of view on an international forum twice in a couple of months. It was the DCC that rejected India’s concern, allotting the tie to Pakistan and then came the turn of the Chair of Independent Tribunal which upheld the DCC/PTF stance, rejecting AITA concerns altogether.

The tribunal also took feedback from the security consultant before reaching the decision. It directed the Indian federation to send its team for the tie, failing which the tie will be awarded to Pakistan.

"There is no such situation in Pakistan where an Indian team cannot travel and participate in the Davis Cup tie. Pakistan has hosted some important Davis Cup ties just recently in a successful manner so there is no solid grounds as to why Pakistan cannot host the tie against India in a befitting manner. Maintaining law and order is the sole responsibility of the host nation. Indian team should rest assured that required security measures will be in order for their travel and participation," the committee opined.

The PTF, in its presentation to DCC and later to the Tribunal, maintained that the tie is planned in the safest possible environments and AITA’s concerns have no basis.

The presentation also highlighted recent sports exchanges between the two countries, including India's baseball, kabaddi and bridge teams’ visits to Pakistan. After going through the presentation, the ITF DCC decided the case in favour of Pakistan, directing the AITA to send their team for the tie, failing which the tie will be awarded to Pakistan.

When The News approached President PTF Senator Salim Saifullah Khan, he said: "Dismissal of the appeal by AITA is, indeed, a big and important decision for Pakistan tennis, and our fraternity who anxiously awaited the award of the Independent Tribunal. I am grateful to the DC Committee for upholding our views, the ITF management for their support in the matter, and to the Learned Chair of the Tribunal for appreciating the contents of our submissions in respect of on-ground realities in Islamabad.

"The Indian team coming to play here would auger well for tennis lovers, and international sports, overall."