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Environmental issues threaten Portuguese Open

The Estoril Portuguese Open was nearly called off this week because of a dispute over environmental issues on the Oitavos course, host club Quinta da Marinha said on Wednesday.

As late as Tuesday the hosts were insisting that areas containing protected species of animals and plants should not be used, but they eventually relented after pressure from the European Tour.

Quinta da Marinha's marketing director Nuno Mota said: "On Tuesday we had two choices: either allow the players to use the areas which have rare animals and plants or call the whole thing off.

"We were not happy because our rules were not being respected but we wanted the tournament to go ahead and everyone to be happy, so we have made an exception to the rules."

However Mota said next year the club would enforce its local rules regarding the restricted areas.

"Everyone else has respected the rules in the past when tournaments have been played here and next year it will not be the case," he said.

Because a European Tour tournament cannot be bound by local rules, the tour had no option but to insist on them being waived.

Tournament director Mikael Eriksson said: "The European Tour are always very conscious of environmental issues, and, after consultation with the club president, it was agreed that we would not play under Quinta da Marinha Oitavos local rules regarding the environmentally sensitive areas of the golf course."


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