SYDNEY: Tennis Australia (TA) said it will appeal against any suspension from the Davis Cup after it decided to forfeit next month's tie against India, saying it was confident of avoiding relegation.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said it would consider sanctions against Australia after the 28-times Davis Cup champions said they will boycott the Asia-Oceania Zone Group I third-round tie in Chennai on May 8-10 over security concerns.
TA president Geoff Pollard said the ITF and India could not meet a list of security requirements the TA had sought for the Australian team, with their concerns heightened by India's month-long elections currently under way.
Under the competition regulations the ITF has the power to suspend Australia for a year, but Pollard said he instead expected a financial penalty of no more than 25,000 US dollars.
Pollard said it was likely the ITF would decide on Australia's sanction at meetings either during the French Open or at Wimbledon, in June-July.
He said an appeal would then be ready to be presented during the Davis Cup committee's AGM in Madrid in July.
"They've got the power to do all sorts of things, but anything they do would be subject to the rights of appeal," Pollard said.
The TA said that even if suspended, Australia was unlikely to drop back to the Asia-Oceania Group II section because it had already beaten Thailand earlier this year.
The ITF issued a statement Saturday saying it "regrets and respectfully disagrees" with the TA's decision, but that it stood by its decision not to move the tie out of Chennai.
"By virtue of its decision not to send a team to compete against India, Australia has forfeited the tie," the statement said.
"India is declared the winner and will advance to the Davis Cup World Group playoffs, scheduled for 18-20 September.
"The ITF, as it does for every Davis Cup and Fed Cup tie, asked the host nation to produce a comprehensive security plan for the tie."
Indian Sports Minister Manohar Singh Gill said Australia's decision was "not justified," despite Maoist guerrillas killing 19 people in poll-related violence.
"I regret that Tennis Australia is not willing to come to Chennai to play us in the Davis Cup," Gill said in a statement in New Delhi.
Gill said the Indian government "had assured them (Australia) of complete security. Our assertions have been found more than satisfactory by the Davis Cup Committee and by the ITF," he said.
"There is no law and order problem in Chennai," he said. "India does not have the slightest of problems regarding security in sports."