Morocco has refused to play Israel in a World Team Cup wheelchair tennis match, instead forfeiting the Group 2 match despite being ordered to play it by their local paralympic committee, according toThe Jerusalem Post.
“This is a sad day for sports, and an even sadder day for paralympic sports,” Israel coach Nimrod Bichler said. “Politics have mixed with sports in the past, but paralympic sports were always different.”
Israel was awarded a 3–0 win and will advance to play Poland for fifth place on Friday.
The ITF is investigating the forfeiture, and released the following statement:
“The ITF was established to, among other things, preserve the integrity and independence of tennis as a sport, and to do so without unfair discrimination on the grounds of color, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or religion. In light of the report that the Moroccan team failed to play a scheduled match against Israel in Men’s World Group II of the ITF Wheelchair World Team Cup, we will contact the Moroccan Tennis Federation as a matter of urgency to establish the facts of this situation, and we will follow the relevant ITF Wheelchair regulations and the ITF Constitution, as necessary, to determine the appropriate action.”
Israel is one of 51 teams from 29 countries completing in the ITF’s premier wheelchair tennis event.