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Estonian Tennis Federation's concerns over Iran Davis Cup tie 'not listened to'

Estonian Tennis Association chief Allar Hint.
Estonian Tennis Association chief Allar Hint. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

After requesting a change of venue for February's Davis Cup match between the Estonian men's tennis team and Iran due to safety concerns, the Estonian Tennis Federation (ETL) received a response from the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) Davis Cup Committee on Thursday stating that there are no restrictions for Estonians traveling to Iran.

Last Thursday, the Estonian Tennis Federation (ETL) received a response from the ITF's Davis Cup Committee stating that there are no restrictions on Estonians travelling to Iran, Delfi Sport wrote on Monday.

The ETL also asked the ITF about the possible consequences of the Estonian team withdrawing from the match. In its response, the ITF referred to regulations which mention the possibility of a fine, a multi-year ban and even relegation into a lower Davis Cup division. However, they also stressed that any final decision on the issue would be made by the relevant ITF panel.

"In our correspondence, we referred to the advice from our foreign ministry and that of other countries, not to travel there. However, that is not considered enough for the ITF at this stage. The situation at the moment is that we would have to go there because the location has not been changed," said Allar Hint, head of the Estonian Tennis Federation. "We are still talking to them and trying to justify and show that it is not safe to [go] there."

According to Hint, if the ITF does not change the venue, the Estonian Tennis Federation will seriously consider withdrawing from the match.

"We'll analyze the documentation, see what our rights and options are and then we'll use them accordingly," he said. "A decision that seems very easy for the ITF is very difficult for us in the context of today's world. And it is disappointing that we have not been listened to."

According to the draw, which is organized by the ITF, the Iranian team are due to host Estonia in February in the World Group II play-offs.

The Estonian team qualified for the play-offs thanks to a successful performance at the  Davis Cup Europe Group III tournament in Cyprus this June. Estonia defeated San Marino and Montenegro on route to the final, where they completed the job with a victory against Moldova.

On November 16, Hint told ERR that the ETL had also been in contact with the Iranian Tennis Federation. "They think everything is okay. The ITF has its own security measures, which they have to follow for different countries, depending on the level of security and they think everything is within the rules and there is no danger."

According to its website, the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs currently advises against all travel to Iran. Iran has been one of Russia's strongest supporters in its aggression against Ukraine, supplying Moscow with attack drones.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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