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Israel’s play-off will be shifted

London: The International Tennis Federation (ITF) told Israel on Thursday it could not host its Davis Cup World Group playoff against Argentina in Tel Aviv next month because of safety concerns caused by the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

The ruling body that organises the men’s team competition said that “while the military conflict seemed to be slowing down, there was no certainty that this would be the case at the time of the tie that is due to take place in five weeks”.

The Davis Cup committee said in a statement it “felt that its first priority was to ensure the safety of the players, officials and the public, and regretfully decided that the tie would not be held in Israel as originally scheduled.”

Israel has been given until next Thursday to nominate an alternative venue to host the September 12-14 tie. Venues in eastern Europe, the United States or Canada are seen as possible options, a spokeswoman for the Israeli Tennis Association said.

A month of fighting between Israeli forces and Islamist militants in the Gaza Strip has wound down. Officials in Cairo are trying to extend an initial 72-hour ceasefire that is due to end on Friday.