Battle For Future Of Davis Cup Shrouded In Uncertainty
The "intense battle for the future of the Davis Cup has taken a murky turn," with the Int'l Tennis Federation seeking an amendment to the constitution to "allow a critical ally pushing for reform to remain on the board," according to Courtney Walsh of THE AUSTRALIAN. French Tennis Federation (FFT) President Bernard Giudicelli, the chair of the Davis Cup committee, "should be removed from the ITF board under its constitution after being found guilty of a criminal act last year." The Frenchman was fined $15,700 and convicted of defamation last September. Although defamation "does not constitute a criminal conviction in many countries, that is not the case in France." But "rather than oust Giudicelli from the board, making him ineligible to vote" on a controversial proposal for a "radical overhaul" of the Davis Cup at the ITF’s annual meeting in Florida next month, "legal moves are afoot." ITF President David Haggerty "is seeking to have an amendment included to allow it discretion to assess matters where a criminal conviction in one country constitutes only a civil matter in other nations" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 7/20). In London, Simon Briggs reported the fact that defamation is a civil offense in the U.K. and many other countries "would thus get Giudicelli off the hook." It is "not a good look, however," to be making constitutional changes for the benefit of one individual. France is the reigning Davis Cup champion, and "the debate there has been fierce enough for the FFT to call an emergency general meeting" (TELEGRAPH, 7/18).