CBNNews.com - MALMO, Sweden - When Israel and Sweden face off in the first round of the Davis Cup next month, they will play to an empty stadium.
The decision to ban fans from the 4000-seat Baltic Hall came after anti-Israel protestors announced that some 10,000 people would demonstrate during the games.
Malmo officials said the decision followed a 5-4 vote by the municipality's recreational committee.
"It's a high-risk match," committee chairman Bengt Forsberg said, according to the Swedish news agency TT.
Vice committee chairman Carlos Gonzales Ramos voted to cancel the match. "But since it was not possible to do so, this was the best result," he told TT.
Israel Tennis Federation chairman Michael Klein said it was too bad that political demonstrators could keep people away from the Davis Cup.
"This means they will not sell tickets to the general public because they are expecting provocation by troublemakers who have nothing to do with the sport," Klein said.
"It's terrible that they are trying to mix politics with sports, especially in an enlightened country like Sweden," he said.
The announcement followed a decision earlier this week to deny a visa to Israeli tennis pro Shahar Pe'er, preventing her from competing in the Dubai Tennis Championships.
The Davis Cup will take place March 6-8 in Malmo.
Source: The Jerusalem Post