Haggerty targets governance reform, Fed Cup overhaul in ITF manifesto

International Tennis Federation (ITF) president David Haggerty has pledged to overhaul the governance structure of the organisation and follow through on plans to revamp the women’s Fed Cup competition, if he is re-elected for a new four-year term in office.

Haggerty made the pledges as he outlined his manifesto for the ITF’s forthcoming presidential election. Earlier this month, it was confirmed that Haggerty will face competition from three rival candidates to secure a second term.

The four contenders for the ITF presidency include India’s Anil Khanna, who Haggerty defeated to secure the position back in September 2015. As well as Haggerty and Khanna, Ireland’s David Miley and Ivo Kaderka of the Czech Republic will also contest the presidency at the ITF’s annual general meeting in Lisbon, Portugal on September 27.

Haggerty has been nominated for the position of ITF president by the United States Tennis Association (USTA), for whom the American previously served as chairman, chief executive and president. His new manifesto, ‘Working Together – Looking Ahead’, is focused on building on the past four years to further promote, develop and grow tennis worldwide.

Under his leadership over the past four years, the ITF has undergone reform, through the implementation of his strategic vision – ITF2024. Working with the member nations, Haggerty has more than doubled the ITF’s revenue to $109.5m (€96.7m) in 2019; enacted a major transformation of the Davis Cup and reorganised the Development Department through a new strategic approach and doubled global development spending.

In the manifesto, Haggerty has spelled out eight key promises targeted at working towards the ITF family’s ITF2024 priorities. Included amongst these are successful implementation of governance reforms.

Commenting on future priorities, Haggerty said: “The first is where the ITF is incorporated. Today, ITF Limited is a Bahamas-based company and our headquarters is in London. A review of an alternative structure will be conducted and recommendations for change will be made over the next year. A second project to strengthen our corporate governance is to review the role of the chairman/president/CEO and to recommend splitting these into two distinct roles.”

The headline item during Haggerty’s first term in office has been the substantial overhaul of the men’s Davis Cup. In August, member nations of the ITF voted in favour of a major reform package for the national team tournament.

ITF members voted in favour of the project launched in association with investment group Kosmos at the federation’s annual general meeting in Orlando, Florida. Requiring a two-thirds majority to be approved, the plan gained 71.43 per cent of the vote.

From this year, the competition will see 18 nations and the world’s best players compete in a week-long season finale to be crowned Davis Cup champions. The first two editions of the new event will be held in Madrid.

The women’s equivalent of the Davis Cup is the Fed Cup and Haggerty maintained it will not be left behind. He said: “Fed Cup reform is a key focus of the Board in 2019, with the ambition to implement a similar Fed Cup World Cup of Tennis with a minimum of 16 teams in the World Group 2020 and to play one round of qualifying and an eight or 12-team Fed Cup Final in April 2020 in one location. This also aligns with the ITF Gender Equality initiative that we introduced in 2018 and continues to ensure tennis is a welcoming sport.”

Commenting more broadly on his candidacy, Haggerty added: “We have achieved a great deal together in the past four years, but there is always room for improvement and still much more we can achieve. It is important that we build on a successful four years to ensure we realise our sport’s huge potential and deliver for nations and players, and ensure the next generation of players and fans.”