ITF board makes itself emperor

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WASHINGTON – The board of directors of the International Tennis Federation didn’t get its way earlier Friday to make the changes it wants to the traditional Davis Cup format.

Earlier in the day, the vote of the member nations that comprise the federation failed to muster the required two-thirds majority required to change the Davis Cup singles format from best-of-five sets to best-of-three sets  .

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And so, in an impressive display of true democracy, an amendment was quickly drafted.

The resolution gives the board of directors “the authority to make changes to Davis Cup and Fed Cup regulations on a trial basis without needing to seek approval from the general membership.”

The press release announcing this indicated the amendment received “overwhelming support” at the close of the annual general meetings.

The previous press release announcing that the change had failed to pass was specific – that 63.54 per cent had voted in favour.

The numbers were not indicated this time, only that the support was … “overwhelming.” 

Feedback from members

The ITF said it submitted the resolution to a vote “based on feedback from the delegates in Vietnam indicating that they have confidence in the Board members to make changes they deem necessary to enhance the ITF’s flagship team competitions.”

So, now, those chosen to be on the ITF board of directors can basically try anything they like, with or without the support and approval of the member nations that made up the federation.

The official statement from ITF president David Haggerty: 

“This is a ground-breaking decision. The resolution gives the board the latitude and flexibility of trialling changes to Davis Cup and Fed Cup without waiting for approval of the AGM. In a fast-changing world, we need to be agile and nimble to make decisions, and this resolution gives us that ability. We thank our members for their support in the ITF Board.  

“Change is needed to ensure the long-term future of these iconic and historic competitions, and we remain committed to working with our national associations and other stakeholders on finding ways to enhance Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.”

That’s how democracy works!

Next year’s annual general meeting will be hosted by the USTA in Orlando in August. Haggerty, the new president, is an American and a longtime former USTA executive. 

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