By Ros Satar
- Romanian Fed Cup team captain Ilie Nastase has been banned from ITF competitions until 2019, and will not hold any official role until 2021.
- Grand Slams remain outside this scope
- Fined US$10,000 for his comments and behaviour at the Fed Cup World Group II Play-off between Romania and Great Britain
LONDON, UK – The ITF has imposed a number of sanctions and a fine on Romanian Fed Cup team captain, Ilie Nastase after his comments and behaviour in the Fed Cup World Group II Play-off.
In what should have been a triumphant home coming for Romanian No. 1 Simona Halep, to play the Fed Cup World Group II play-off in her home town of Constanta, it quickly descended to chaos when the Romanian team captain Ilie Nastase first made a comment about Serena Williams’ baby and the press conference before the tie, before making GB team captain Anne Keothavong uncomfortable by asking her repeatedly for her hotel room number.
Things went from bad to worse from that point.
In a press-release by the ITF, the ITF Internal Adjudication Panel issued its decision on Friday in the case against Mr Nastase.
What did Nastase do?
He was found guilty of breaching Articles a.ii.a, a.iii.a, a.iii.b, a.iv.c and a.v.b of the Fed Cup Welfare Policy under the 2017 ITF Fed Cup Regulations during the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas tie between Romania and Great Britain in Constanta in April.
These were, specifically:
- Mr Nastase made a comment about Serena Williams’s unborn child that was highly inappropriate and racially insensitive in breach of the Introduction to the Welfare Policy, and Article a.v.b;
- Mr Nastase made advances of a sexual nature towards Anne Keothavong, the Captain of the Great Britain team, in breach of Article a.iv.c;
- Mr Nastase made abusive and threatening comments to a member of the accredited press, in breach of Article a.iii.b;
- Mr Nastase made abusive and threatening comments to the match officials and to members of the Great Britain team, refused to leave the court, and deliberately interfered with the opposing team in breach of Articles a.ii.a, a.iii.a, a.iii.b and a.v.b.
What are the ITF sanctions?
- Mr Nastase is suspended from acting in an official capacity (including, but not limited to, team Captain) in all Official ITF Team Competitions included under Bye-Law 2.1(a) of the ITF Constitution, individual competitions included under Bye-Law 2.2(2), and Official ITF Tennis Circuits included under Bye-Law 2.2(3) from 23 April 2017 (the date on which he was provisionally suspended) until 31 December 2020.
- Mr Nastase shall be denied access to, and not granted accreditation for, the competitions and circuits described above from 23 April 2017 until 31 December 2018. Grand Slam tournaments are not included within the sanction, as they lie outside the jurisdiction of the ITF.
- Mr Nastase is fined a sum of US$10,000.
During the chaos on court, Britain’s Johanna Konta was subjected to additional abuse from the crowd which resulted in the play being suspended to give her time to compose herself. She levelled the tie on the first day, but went on to lose to Halep, who had to ask the crowd to settle down so that the ti to continue.
As part of his defence he tried to maintain that his choice of words regarding Williams was ‘unfortunate’ but that it was a joke, and thus misinterpreted, and that he comes from a nation where racism is ‘not as delicate an issue as it may be in other parts of the world,’ citing his friendship with Arthur Ashe and Yannick Noah as evidence to the contrary.
You can read the full decision here, which also included him verbally abusing an accredited British journalist, as well as defying the order to ban him from the tie.
Mr Nastase and the Romanian Tennis Federeration each have 21 days to appeal the decision to an Independent Tribunal.
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