ISLAMABAD

 

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) have rejectedPakistan's appeal against the awarding of their davis cup Asia-Oceania Group II tie toNew Zealand, the governing body said on Wednesday.

Designated hosts Pakistan were disqualified from last month's davis cup tie, played in Myanmar because of security concerns, after referee Ashita Ajigala ruled that the grass court in Yangon had become unplayable and dangerous. The Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) appealed against the ruling but the itf 's davis cup Committee upheld the Sri Lankan referee's decision at a meeting on Tuesday.

"It was the view of the Committee that the Pakistan Tennis Federation did not organise the tie to the required standards, notably with regard to the quality of the two available courts," the itf said in a statement. The tie was played inMyanmarafterNew Zealandrefused to visitPakistandue to safety concerns.

"The Committee noted that the poor quality of the original match court led the Referee to designate the practice court as the match court," the itf statement read. "Following the deterioration of the second court, specifically during the second match, the Referee determined that this court was now unplayable and a risk to player safety. The Referee also deemed that the court would not become playable in the next 24 hours due to its poor condition, and awarded the tie toNew Zealand."

The committee cited regulation 44(d) of the itf davis cup regulations which states that "the referee may call off a tie and award the victory to the visiting nation if the home nation fails to provide a playable court as per regulation 38"; and regulation 44(e) which states that "the decision of the referee is final". Regulation 38 refers to the surface of the courts and playing conditions.

Announcing the appeal had been rejected, the governing body said the PTF could now take their case to the itf board of directors. The davis cup Committee was chaired by itf Executive Vice President Juan Margets (ESP) and also comprised Armando Cervone (ARG), Guy Forget (FRA - observer), Tom Gorman (USA), Geoff Pollard (AUS), Charles Trippe (GBR) and Slobodan Zivojinovic (SRB).

Meanwhile talking exclusively with The Nation fromSudanon Wednesday, PTF president Dr Syed Kaleem Imam said the fight would go on. "I am very much disappointed with the davis cup Committee decision to withheld referee judgment of outrageously awarding tie toNew Zealand. We will now appeal the itf Board of Directors. We will also make an effort to personally visit and elucidate our position at this highest forum. We are hopeful that decision would be reverse and tie would be played again. We pray and hope that for ultimate projection of the sport and benefit of the game sportsman spirit would be shown and rematch would be allowed.”

He said if the referee had felt the courts were not up to the mark, why did he start the tie in the first place? “And for some reasons if court did deteriorate than it could have been repaired, and as option game, match or even set could have penalised. But to do this on first day when two days were still to go is whimsical insinuating malafide intent; beside referee took no heed to Kiwis player damaging and denting the court setting grounds for tie to be forfeited. We have been denied tennis activities for last many years and this action has certainly further agonized our objective to promote the game of tennis in Pakistan. "