Israel will not be allowed to stage the Davis Cup World Group tie against Argentina in Tel Aviv in September because of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, tournament chiefs said Thursday.
The tie, set for September 12-14 at the Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv, will either be switched to a neutral venue or be played in Argentina.
“The Davis Cup Committee determined that, while the military conflict seemed to be slowing down, there was no certainty that this would be the case at the time of the tie that is due to take place in five weeks,” said an International Tennis Federation (ITF) statement.
“The Committee felt that its first priority was to ensure the safety of the players, officials and the public and regretfully decided that the tie would not be held in Israel as originally scheduled.”
Israel has now been stripped of two tennis events in four days after the ATP’s planned inaugural Negev Israel Open in Tel Aviv next month was called off because of security concerns.
The tournament, moved from the Russian venue of St. Petersburg, was set to become the first ATP event in Israel since 1996.
Meanwhile, the ITF also said Thursday that Kiev could stage the Davis Cup World Group play-off tie between Ukraine and Belgium from September 12-14.
“The Committee determined that, given the current information available, Ukraine would be allowed to host the tie at the Palace of Sports as scheduled. The Committee will continue to monitor the situation in Ukraine,” added the ITF statement.
Davis Cup Committee chairman Juan Margets said the decisions had been tough to make.
“After long deliberation, the committee was convinced that Kiev would provide a safe environment for the tie with Belgium and agreed for it to go ahead as scheduled,” he said.
“The decision on Israel versus Argentina was more problematic for the committee because the situation in Israel is very fluid at the moment and yet security in Israel is of an exceptionally high standard.
“Ultimately the outcome rested on the lack of certainty of the situation at the date of the tie, on the decision of other sports not to compete in Israel at this time and on the ITF’s duty to ensure the safety of players, officials and spectators.”