Chilean tennis in crisis: how a new tennis federation might revive its future

SANTIAGO – In an effort to revive tennis in Chile, international sports authorities agreed to the creation of a new Chilean Tennis Federation.

The sport was under threat due to increasing debts estimated at around 1.5 billion pesos (around US$2.5 million), including roughly 500 million pesos (US$ 790.000) owed to the Internal Tax Service. It led to a clash between an elected main board for the current Federation and an external board appointed by the country’s National Institute for Sports in an attempt to monitor and improve the use of existing resources. The elected main board resigned in August 2017, after only three months.

Representatives of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the Chilean Olympic Committee and the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO), met at a conference in Thailand to discuss the creation of a new organization in Chile, aimed at strengthening the country’s tennis scene. ITF President David Haggerty told daily El Mercurio that “unfortunately, Chilean tennis is not at its best moment right now, but in the future, it will get better.” He added, “what we’re doing now is the best for the future of tennis in Chile.”

The initial proposal was submitted by Roberto Ossandon, aspiring future president of the new federation. The proposal was created in an effort to eliminate the threat of increasing debt facing the current Tennis Federation. It was a bold move, as it came at the risk of Chile losing its status in the Davis and Federation Cups. The proposal was approved unanimously at the recent meeting in Thailand. However, not everyone is pleased with this solution. Pauline Kantor, Chile’s Minister of Sports, warned the Chilean Olympic Committee that even with a new federation, they would still be forced to pay what’s owed to the Internal Tax Service.

“It is well known by everybody that the Tennis Federation is in the midst of a deep crisis, especially in these moments in which tennis is climbing back up,” Kantor told El Mercurio. “But, evidently, the solution that they search for has to handle all of the acquired debt. On that subject, we’re going to see that all compromises fit the legal requirements,” said Kantor. 

The Davis Cup team recently faced Argentina in San Juan.

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