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AITA’s no to private players

New Delhi: The future of Sunfeast Open and Kingfisher Open became uncertain on Monday when the All India Tennis Association (AITA) decided to bar private entrepreneurs from hosting an ATP or WTA event in India.

The decision was taken by the AITA executive committee in Mumbai on Sunday after a private promoter — Big Live — wrote to the ATP saying that they were cancelling the proposed Bangalore Open due to security concerns in the city.

The step taken by the AITA will have a direct impact on private companies like Mahesh Bhupathi’s Globosport, which has been conducting the annual ATP Kingfisher Open and the WTA Sunfeast Open. In future, the companies will have to go through the AITA if they intend to organise such big events.

Anil Khanna, the AITA secretary, said that some steps had to be taken as the cancellation of the Bangalore Open tarnished the image of the country.

The AITA was also upset with the fact that Globosport cancelled the Sunfeast Open, which was to be held in Mumbai in October, and informed the association on August 25 that they had sold out their sanction to some other party.

In a strongly worded statement, Khanna said: “The AITA Committee unanimously approved that henceforth AITA would not permit private entrepreneurs to take up any WTA or ATP events as their interest is only to make profits and in case they are unable to find sponsors, they are quite capable of putting the image of nation at risk and not honour the commitment of the nation to international events of such magnitude.”

Khanna added that “a report from the Union Home Ministry will go to the ATP saying that India is absolutely safe.”

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