ITF 'greatly concerned' over Davis Cup security

Sat Nov 21, 2015 1:44pm EST
 
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Security fears in Brussels are of "great concern" to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) ahead of next week's Davis Cup final between Belgium and Britain in Ghent, the governing body said on Saturday.

Belgium put the capital on maximum security alert on Saturday, shutting the metro and warning people to avoid crowds because of a "serious and imminent" threat of coordinated, multiple attacks by militants.

It follows last Friday's deadly attacks in Paris by Islamic State militants, of whom one suspect from Brussels is at large.

ITF president David Haggerty said in a statement: "Over the last week, the ITF has been in constant contact with the relevant authorities, the Royal Belgian Tennis Federation, the Lawn Tennis Association and our risk assessment company and this dialogue continues today.

"We are aware that Belgium has raised the terror alert level for Brussels. This greatly concerns us but, at the present time, we are still continuing with preparations for the final.

"What I said last weekend is true today: security of players, fans, media and working staff remains our highest priority."

The three-day final is due to start on Friday at the 13,000-seat Flanders Expo, 35 miles north west of Brussels.

Anderlecht's match at Lokeren in Belgium's top soccer league was postponed on Saturday, with the league saying "safety could not be guaranteed".

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Toby Davis)

 
Belgian Davis Cup team (from left to right) Michael Llodra, Johan Van Herck (captain), David Goffin, Steve Darcis, Ruben Bemelman and Kimmer Coppejans holds a news conference ahead of the final against Britain in Brussels, Belgium, November 17, 2015. REUTERS/Delmi Alvarez