Pakistan appeals against Davis Cup tie switch

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has appealed against its Davis Cup Asia Oceania tie being switched to New Zealand over security fears, demanding it should be played at a neutral venue, officials said Saturday.

Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) secretary Rashid Khan said an appeal has been lodged with the board of the International Tennis Federation, which made the decision last week.

"We have appealed that the tie should be relocated to a neutral country like Malaysia or Dubai because by playing in New Zealand we lose the advantage," Khan told AFP.

Pakistan was due to host the Group II second-round tie from July 9-11. The PTF initially protested over the switch but a series of blasts, notably in Lahore earlier this month, forced them to accept they cannot host it at home.

Tennis New Zealand last week said the ITF had reversed its choice of venue "due to the existing security concerns that continue to surround the hosting of sporting events in Pakistan".

Tennis New Zealand said it expected to confirm the new venue for the tie next month.

"We are quite hopeful that our appeal will be considered and we have also demanded 100,000 dollars (8.4 million rupees) in compensation as we stand to lose money by relocation," said Khan.

Pakistan''s top tennis player Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi voiced disappointment over the relocation.

"It is unfortunate that I have not been able to play a Davis Cup match in Pakistan for three years. This time too the tie has been shifted which harms the progress of the game in our country," said Qureshi.

Last year Pakistan was forced to play its home Davis Cup ties against Oman and Philippines in their rivals'' countries over security fears.