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Fine for barring fans reduced

6/11/2009 - Tennis

LONDON -- The International Tennis Federation has reduced the fine levied on Sweden because of its decision to play a Davis Cup match against Israel behind closed doors.

The ITF said Thursday it has cut the fine to $5,000 from the original $25,000 after an appeal by the Swedes. However, Sweden still has to pay the $15,000 that would have been earned in gate receipts had the three days of play been open to spectators.

Sweden hosted Israel in the first round of the Davis Cup in March, losing 3-2. The best-of-five series was played behind closed doors because city officials said they couldn't guarantee security at the venue.

The IFT in April fined the Swedish tennis federation $25,000 for the decision and banned Malmo from hosting Davis Cup matches for five years, a verdict that prompted the Swedes to appeal.

Malmo, Sweden's third-largest city, has a left-leaning local government and a large Muslim minority. Its leaders strongly criticized Israel after a Gaza invasion, and some called for dropping the Davis Cup match against Israel altogether. Critics, including the Israeli team, said Malmo was caving in to threats of violence from anti-Israel groups.