Ireland’s Dave Miley steps up campaign to be president of tennis federation

Miley says his nomination is from Tennis Ireland, and he has support of OFI president Sarah Keane and Sport Minister Shane Ross

A private room in the swish Ivy cafe in Wimbledon Village is where Ireland's Dave Miley on Wednesday unveiled his ambitious manifesto and stepped up his campaign to be elected next president of the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

American incumbent David Haggerty is facing three challengers after the Czech Republic's Ivo Kaderka and Indian Anil Khanna were confirmed as candidates alongside Miley.

If elected Miley would be the highest ranking Irish official in world sport after former Olympic Council of Ireland's (now OFI) Pat Hickey self-suspended himself in 2016 from his position as president of the European Olympic Committees.

Fluent in French and Spanish, Miley spoke about his plans and took questions from an international media, citing that his nomination for the candidacy was from Tennis Ireland and that his bid also enjoyed support from president of the OFI Sarah Keane and Minister for Sport Shane Ross.

“I am from a small country but I live in London, and I am privileged to be a member of the All England Club,” he said, adding that he wanted to double the size of the tennis global market to $45 billion (€39.8bn).

“When I look at other mainstream sports I see many growing quickly while tennis remains relatively static. This is not acceptable for a great sport like ours.”

Haggerty was first elected in 2015, and is seeking a second four-year term at the helm when the vote takes place at the governing body’s annual general assembly in Lisbon, Portugal, on September 27th.

Miley is no stranger to boardroom politics as he was actively involved in the ITF’s board of directors for 17 years, and has considerable experience of ITF committees and how they operate.

A prominent critic of Haggerty, Miley reiterated that new ethics rules introduced by the ITF which restrict campaigning are biased in favour of the incumbent president. Because of those rules he was prevented from attending a Tennis Europe agm and another African meeting in Madagascar.

Finances

He is self-funding his campaign, and said the finances come from a successful indoor fitness business he built up and then sold in the 1990s and invested in property around London.

“In Ireland former players have offered to help [financially],” he explained, adding he had turned down the offers. “After Wimbledon I will be travelling to 45 countries.”

Miley holds Irish citizenship, currently lives in Wimbledon and has a second home in Dublin. From an Irish tennis family, his grandfather played at Wimbledon and was the first Irish Davis Cup captain in 1923.

In the 1980s he was an Irish international and national champion in doubles, and played on the professional satellite circuit. He was elected a full member of the All England Club in 2012.

Miley has also proposed a tennis World Championships to be held every two years, which he said would generate further revenue for the worldwide body.

The stated salary for an ITF president in 2017 was $642,000 (€569,000).

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times

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