Chile and Argentina kicked out of 2000 Davis Cup

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The Independent Online

Chile and Argentina were kicked out of this year's Davis Cup competition today following the crowd trouble which marred their zonal group match in Santiago last weekend.

"In order that neither nation is seen to benefit from their failure to abide by Davis Cup regulations, neither nation will be allowed to advance in the 2000 competition," the International Tennis Federation's board of directors said.

The board overturned a ruling on Thursday by the ITF's Davis Cup Committee, which had allowed Chile to advance to the World Group qualifying round against Morocco in July.

The decision means Morocco advances to the World Group by default.

Trouble flared in Santiago on April 7 with Chile leading 1-0 and Argentina's Mariano Zabaleta ahead of Nicolas Massu, two sets to one. Angered by line calls against their player, Chilean spectators tossed fruit, coins, bottles and plastic chairs onto the court, forcing the match to be halted.

The Argentine team was escorted off the court by police using riot shields, and Zabaleta's father sustained a head injury that required 10 stitches.

The following day, Argentina withdrew from the best-of-5 series, and Chile was declared the winner, 5-0. Argentina declined to play the match behind closed doors, without spectators, saying the safety of its team could not be guaranteed.

On Thursday, the Davis Cup Committee upheld Chile as the winner of the match but barred Chile from playing home matches for three years.

The Davis Cup Committee ruled that the Argentine team, meanwhile, had "failed in their obligation" to abide by the match referee's decision to proceed with play.

Both countries filed appeals against Thurday's rulings.

Today, the board of directors upheld the recommendation to maintain Chile as the winner of the match but ruled that Chile will not be allowed to advance further. The board also upheld the decision to ban Chile from playing at home through 2002.

Argentina, meanwhile, will face potential relegation to Zone Group II.

The board also reduced the fines levied against both teams.

Chile's fine was cut from $141,800 to $47,800, while Argentina's penalty was slashed from $77,100 to $25,700.