Billie Jean King Cup Finals postponed again due to COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: A logo is seen at the entrance to the International Tennis Federation headquarters, where the Tennis Integrity Unit is based, in London, Britain January 18, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville

(Reuters) - The finals of the Billie Jean King Cup, the revamped Fed Cup which was scheduled to be held from April 13-18 in Budapest, has been postponed again due to COVID-19 protocols in Hungary, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said on Thursday.

The inaugural 12-nation finals was initially scheduled to be held in March last year before the pandemic forced authorities to put it back a year.

The ITF and the Hungarian National Sports Agency (NSA) said the finals would be rescheduled to later this year.

"Several scenarios have been under review, which include playing behind closed doors," organisers said in a statement.

"However, continued uncertainty and the challenges due to the COVID-19 virus, locally and internationally, have made it unfeasible to host a world cup team competition of this scale indoors in Budapest on the scheduled dates."

While the finals have been rescheduled, playoff ties for the 2022 qualifiers are set to go ahead on a home-away basis on April 16-17.

The tournament was renamed last year in honour of Billie Jean King who helped the United States win the inaugural Fed Cup in 1963. France are the reigning champions after winning their third title in 2019.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Gareth Jones and Bernadette Baum)

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