AITA dragging feet on venue change
The All India Tennis Association is walking the tight rope with the International Tennis Federation on the Davis Cup issue, with travel to Islamabad next month looking bleak.
On one hand, with the ministry for youth affairs and sports washing its hands off the matter, rather surprisingly, the AITA has been left to fend for itself.
Email exchanges between AITA secretary general Hironmoy Chatterjee and Justine Albert in the ITF suggest it's a question of who blinks first.
Last week, AITA sources had told Mail Today they would wait for developments in Pakistan before deciding on the future course of action.
The AITA has written to the ITF that it respects the Olympic Charter and players are eager to travel to Islamabad for the tie in mid-September.
However, in the last one week, since the time the Indian government scrapped Article 370, there have been drastic developments. It would not be an exaggeration to state that relations between Indian and Pakistan have deteriorated. To envisage any Indian sports team travelling across the border at this point of time is bizarre.
The tone and tenor of the letter written by the AITA suggests it wants the ITF to blink first. For its part, the ITF, with its headquarters based in London, has asked the Indian tennis association to keep them posted on visa application status and so on!
When the ITF had visited Islamabad last month, it felt tennis facilities were fine and security was not at all issue. However, the AITA has been emphatic in its recent mail and said the onus is now on the world body (ITF) to again take a look at "conditions" in Islamabad and so on. One is not sure why such an important issue is being dealt with only via email exchanges.
Ideally, Anil Khanna , vice president of the ITF, should have played a more proactive role and asked for a venue change. Now, it's left to Hironmoy Chatterjee to deal with the vexing issue.
As far as the Indian players are concerned, they are definitely worried about travelling across the border. Till date, the assurances given on security are not convincing.
By now, the AITA should have sought a venue change so that the Asia-Oceania tie could have been played on a neutral venue.