Israel tennis match to remain in Malmö

Officials in Stockholm announced Monday night that there was not enough time for the city to make arrangements to host Sweden’s upcoming Davis Cup tennis match against Israel.

The match is scheduled to be played in Malmö as originally planned, and will take place behind closed doors because of security concerns.

“We’ve explored every possible option for Stockholm to take responsibility from Malmö, and have been in contact with the police regarding necessary security arrangements. Unfortunately, it appears as if it is not possible to move the match to Stockholm with just a few days’ notice,” said Stockholm Vice Mayor Madeleine Sjöstedt (Lib) to the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

At the weekend, Sjöstedt began a last minute effort to have the Davis Cup match moved from Malmö to Stockholm to avoid having the match played without any spectators.

The match, which is scheduled to be played from March 6th to 8th, is slated for a Malmö’s Baltiska Hallen which has a capacity of 4,000.

While police had given their go-ahead to allowing tennis fans into the arena, the Social Democratic head of the Malmö sports and recreation committee, Bengt Forsberg, led a vote to bar the public from the venue.

“We have made a judgment that this is a high-risk match for our staff, for players and for officials,” he told The Local last week.

Sjöstedt initiated talks with the Swedish Tennis Association about moving the match to Stockholm following remarks by another Social Democratic member of the Malmö council, Ilmar Repaluu, in which he said he thought the match should be boycotted.

Sjöstedt hopes, however, that officials in Malmö will reverse their position and allow spectators in to see Sweden’s tennis duel with Israel.

“I hope now that the match is played in front of a large crowd in Malmö instead, which was the idea in the first place,” she told the newspaper.

Currently, however, there is no indication that the Malmö council plans to revisit their decision, according to SvD.