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05 March 2024, 14:20

CAS rejects Belarus’ appeal against ITF decision on membership suspension

MINSK, 5 March (BelTA) - The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected the appeal of the Belarusian Tennis Federation (BTF) against the decision of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to suspend its membership in the organization, Chairman of the Belarusian Tennis Federation Sergei Rutenko told a press conference on 5 March, BelTA has learned.

In early March 2022, the ITF Board of Directors, referring to the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee, suspended the membership of the Belarusian Tennis Federation in the organization. Two months later this decision was ratified. On 26 May 2022, in order to restore the rights of Belarusian tennis players, the BTF filed an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the hearing of which took place online on 17 April 2023. In February 2024, almost a year after multiple postponements of the decision, CAS upheld the ITF ruling and rejected the BTF appeal.

“We have not violated a single paragraph of any of the statutes of the organization, fulfilled all obligations during the membership, and even after the suspension we were required to pay membership fees. Our athletes are forbidden to participate in official competitions under the auspices of the organization. We are also forbidden to host international ITF tournaments in Belarus,” Sergei Rutenko said. “We will provide competitive practice for our athletes in any case, but the fact is that the players should participate in ranking tournaments, which is what we have been fighting for the last two years. Not all young tennis players have the opportunity to travel abroad and play there. The main problem is that as a result of this decision the number of tournaments where players need to earn rating points has dropped.”

Now the Belarusian Tennis Federation is considering the possibility of appealing to the Federal Court of Switzerland. The Belarusian Tennis Federation will have 30 days to do so after the CAS officially announces its decision, which has not been done so far.
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