Sweden-Israel tie to be played behind closed doors
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:29
It looks almost certain that Sweden’s Davis Cup tie against Israel on Friday will be played before just a handful of journalists and officials after anti-Israeli demonstrators in Malmo called for the tie to be cancelled altogether.
After a last-ditch attempt by Swedish tennis authorities to switch the match to Stockholm failed, Malmo’s municipal recreation committee took the decision to play next weekend’s tie behind closed doors saying the event could pose a risk to the public.
The local police however, had reportedly given their go-ahead to let fans into the area, but ongoing attempts yesterday to get the contentious decision reversed look unlikely to succeed.
The row follows controversy earlier this month when Shahar Peer was refused entry to the United Arab Emirates after organisers said they feared a threat to the player’s safety because of public opinion on the Gaza conflict. A week later Andy Ram received clearance to play in Dubai, becoming the first Israeli to play in the Gulf state, albeit amid tight security.
“It’s too bad that this is the situation and that is what they have decided,” said Yaron Michaeli, a spokesman for the Israel Tennis Association. “But we cannot tell them how to behave. But we will go and we will win and come back.”
Andy David, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson said the decision displayed a “shallow understanding of the situation.”
He said: “There are all kinds of elements trying to use na