Ghana accuse LTA of racism

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The Independent Online
The Lawn Tennis Association has failed in its attempt to buy home advantage from Ghana for Britain's second round Davis Cup tie the weekend after Wimbledon, amid rumblings of "racist undertones".

Rejecting the LTA's approach, which was made after David Lloyd, the British captain, had expressed concern about the health of his players, the Ghanaian Tennis Federation said it wanted, "to give our fans the chance to see the match".

Accra's state-owned Daily Graphic took a stronger line. "Certainly the racist undertones in the request by the British Davis Cup team can hardly be missed," the newspaper said, "and it is sad to reflect that such effusions should come from the country that disregarded the threat of illness to colonise Ghana, then called the Gold Coast.

"In a way, however, we understand the fear of the British Davis Cup team, coming from a country now afflicted by the mad cow disease. They know Ghana is one of the countries which imports British beef and are, therefore, likely to be served British beef while they are in Accra.''

The LTA, with the permission of the International Tennis Federation, had offered to pay Ghana's expenses - estimated at around pounds 25,000 - if they would agree to switch the Euro/African Zone Group Two tie.

Lloyd said yesterday: "If the match had been in Honolulu I would have done exactly the same, because it's an impossible schedule. We thought it might be mutually beneficial.

"It happens in football and it's happened in tennis before. I thought it would have been a great opportunity for the people of Ghana to see the last few days of Wimbledon. But if they don't want to do it, then, of course, it's up to them."

Rusedski beaten, page 23