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ITF orders Ukraine to choose neutral venue for Davis Cup tie with Belgium

LONDON (Reuters) - Ukraine's Davis Cup World Group playoff tie against Belgium, due to be played in Kiev next month, will have to be moved, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) ruled on Tuesday.

The Davis Cup committee had initially said the match, to be played between September 12 and 14, could take place in the Ukraine capital, despite concerns about the political unrest in the country.

But the ITF's board of directors has upheld Belgium's appeal against that decision, acknowledging that the security situation in the capital was "fluid".

Ukraine now has the opportunity to nominate a neutral venue for the playoff tie, which will determine which nation plays in the World Group next year, or have one imposed on it by the ITF.

The federation said in a statement: "The board noted that the original decision by the Davis Cup committee had not been unanimous and that while the recent political unrest had occurred in eastern Ukraine, a disturbance in Kiev's Independence Square as recently as last Thursday indicated that the security situation there was fluid."

Belgium need to win the playoff to maintain their place in the World Group, while Ukraine are attempting to reach the world elite for the first time.

If the designated hosts decline to choose a neutral venue, the Davis Cup Committee can select one itself or move the tie to Belgium.

The board also rejected Israel's appeal against the Davis Cup committee's decision to refuse them permission to play their playoff tie against Argentina on home soil for safety and security reasons.

(Reporting by Neville Dalton, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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