April 25, 2009 12:42:17 pm
Sports Minister M S Gill lambasted Australia for pulling out of the Davis Cup tennis tie in Chennai over safety concerns,saying India did not have “slightest of security problems in sports” and there was no justification for not playing in the country.
“I regret that Tennis Australia,is not willing to come to Chennai,to play us in the Davis Cup… We are fully conscious of security concerns and there is no justification for Australia,not to play in Chennai,” Gill said in a statement.
“The State and the Central Governments had assured them,of complete security. Our assertions have been found more than satisfactory by the Davis Cup Committee,and by the International Tennis Federation.
“There is no law and order problem in Chennai. India does not have a slightest of problems regarding security in sports,” he added.
Australia has withdrawn its team from May 8-10 Davis Cup tie against India citing security concerns barely a day after the the ITF rejected Tennis Australia’s plea to shift the Asia-Oceania Group I tie from Chennai.
Gill wondered if Australia would also pull out of Ashes cricket series against England,which has also witnessed some terrorist activities in the past.
“Tennis is played in a small stadium in Chennai where only a few thousands would have watched them. It interests me that though United Kingdom has had terrorists incidents,Australia will be going for the Ashes cricket in May and play before crowds of 30,000 or more with obvious security concerns,” Gill said.
“(Or) am I to understand that they won’t go to England,” he added.
The Sports Minister felt Australia were a bit hasty in making the decision,which implied that all sports be played in only certain countries in future.
“Australia should have come and played. It is also,in my view,not correct to take quick and unjustified objections to playing in certain parts of the world and implying that we,in future,play all sports in certain other countries only. This is not likely to happen,” he said.
Australia,who face a fine of USD 100,000 and the ban for not abiding by the ITF verdict which yesterday upheld its decision to go ahead with the third round tie in Chennai,has described the country as a area of “high risk”.
“The ITF decision has left us with no other option. We cannot send the team. It is extremely disappointing,” TA President Geoff Pollard said.
“It would be irresponsible of us to send our players into an area of such high risk. Davis Cup is very important to us but some things are more important than tennis,” he added.
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