I had given security assurance to Tennis Australia: Sports minister

New Delhi, April 25 (Inditop) Sports minister M.S. Gill said Saturday that Tennis Australia (TA) had pulled out of its Davis Cup tie against India in Chennai despite receiving a security assurance from him.

“I regret that TA is not willing to come to Chennai, to play us in the Davis Cup. I was in Melbourne and Sydney in March, to see their Commonwealth and Olympic facilities. I spoke at luncheon meetings, with all their senior sports people, and foreign office representatives. I said then that there is no justification for Australia not to play in Chennai,” said Gill in a statement.

“We are fully conscious of security concerns. The state and the central governments had assured them of complete security. Since independence, our sports events have been incident free, and enjoyed by the people. Our assertions have been found more than satisfactory by the ITF,” he added.

TA cited security concerns in its decision to pull out of the Davis Cup tie against India in Chennai May 8-10. TA now risk a one-year ban from the competition and a $100,000 fine from the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

The TA decision comes in the wake of the ITF board’s rejection of its appeal to move the tie out of India.

Gill said that hosting the Davis Cup tie in the small Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) Stadium in Chennai wouldn’t have posed security problems.

“The Chennai stadium would have been totally sealed and made safe. It interests me, that though the UK 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,” he said.

Gill went on to add that Australia should have come and played in India.

“Australia should have come, and played. In my view it is not correct to take unjustified objections, to playing in certain parts of the world, and by implication implying, that we, in future, play all sports, in certain other countries only. This is not likely to happen,” he said.