Sweden fined over banning tennis fans from Israel match
Last update - 08:53 03/04/2009
By Haaretz Sports Staff and Reuters
The Swedish tennis federation has been fined $25,000 and the city of Malmo has been banned from hosting Davis Cup matches for five years after the city's authorities opted to play Sweden's tie against Israel last month behind closed doors.
The ITF said in a statement that the Swedish federation will have to pay an additional $15,000, which it would have received in gate receipts had the tie been open to spectators.
Meanwhile, the Israel Tennis Association is expected to announce today it will hold the Davis Cup quarterfinal encounter with Russia at Tel Aviv's Yad Eliahu stadium instead of the Israel Tennis Center in Ramat Hasharon.
"The committee strongly condemned the decision by the city government of Malmo to refuse to allow spectators to attend the matches and the resultant fact that the Swedish Tennis Association played the tie behind closed doors," the Davis Cup committee said.
Other conditions were also placed on Sweden by the committee, including a written guarantee that future ties will be open to the public. The ITF said Sweden would also lose the right to choose the ground if a similar situation occurs in the future.
Around 1,000 police officers were on duty for the tie and the ITF said the security measures in place would have allowed the contest to go ahead as usual, even though more than 6,000 demonstrators protested against Israel's presence in the competition. Israeli doubles specialist Andy Ram and his partner Max Mirnyi advanced to the doubles semifinal at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami after beating France's Julien Benneteau and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-7, 6-6 on Wednesday to win a date with Julian Knowle and Jurgen Melzer of Austria.
Roger Federer defeated Andy Roddick 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 on Wednesday to win a place in the semifinals, while Venus and Serena Williams will meet in the women's semifinals after beating China's La Ni and the Czech Republic's Iveta Benesova respectively.