Former All India Tennis Association (AITA) vice-president Karti Chidambaram on Tuesday slammed all concerned authorities for the chaos that surrounds India’s Davis Cup tie in Pakistan, scheduled next month. Karti, a Member of Parliament, accused AITA, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the Indian government for putting the players at risk by even considering sending a team to Pakistan.
“I’m completely baffled by the AITA’s decision of asking the ITF to do another security review, instead of vehemently asking for a neutral venue,” Karti told The Indian Express. “I’m glad that the players have spoken up now. I’ve been speaking with them privately before. They’ve all had grave concerns about going to Pakistan. And it’s natural. I cannot think of a single international team going there, for any sport. So why is the Indian Davis Cup team being exposed to this?”
On Monday, Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju said that the decision on sending the Indian team for the tie lay solely with the AITA, and that the government will not be involved since it is not a “bilateral series.”
“The government doesn’t want to give any direction. I understand that this is not a bilateral event, this is an international event. But still the government is obligated to give some sort of advisory. How can they say they will not give any advisory?” Karti questioned.
Relations between the two countries have soured in the past 10 days over the Kashmir issue. Even the Indian high commissioner to Pakistan was sent back, as Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties. Despite such an atmosphere existing between the two countries, the ITF is adamant that the tie should continue in Islamabad as scheduled.
“There is absolutely no question of the Indian team going to Pakistan now. When the situation is under boil, you’ve downgraded diplomatic relationships, even in normal circumstances it’s a very difficult country to go because nobody goes to Pakistan – they’ve always played in neutral venues.”
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