Budapest will no longer stage the Billie Jean King Cup Finals ©Getty Images

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) is searching for a new host city for this year’s Billie Jean King Cup Finals after cancelling its agreement with Budapest.

The finals of the tournament, previously known as the Fed Cup, is scheduled to take place later this year, but it will no longer be held in the Hungarian capital.

According to reports, the Hungarian Tennis Association sent a letter to the ITF to confirm it was not feasible to stage the event due to COVID-19 safety concerns.

Budapest’s withdrawal will be another blow to the ITF. which has already had to postpone the tournament twice because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We have been working closely with the Hungarian Government and the Hungarian Tennis Association to review all feasible options to reschedule this year’s finals," said ITF President David Haggerty.

"After working together in good faith for the past year, we were surprised and disappointed to be informed that the HTA no longer considers it possible to hold the event in Budapest.

"Given the timing, the ITF has been left with no other option than to end the hosting agreement with Hungary and explore an alternative solution.

"The ITF will do everything in its power - for the sport, the players, nations, and the fans - to ensure this landmark competition in tennis and women’s sports will be held as soon as it is reasonably practicable."

France will be among 12 teams to compete in the Billie Jean King Cup Finals, previously called the Fed Cup ©Getty Images
France will be among 12 teams to compete in the Billie Jean King Cup Finals, previously called the Fed Cup ©Getty Images

Hungary has reported a further 1,130 coronavirus infections and 128 deaths in the past 24 hours, while 511 of the 4,374 COVID-19 patients are reportedly on ventilators.

The finals had initially been scheduled to take place in Budapest from April 14 to 19 in 2020, before being postponed as a result of the pandemic.

It was then set to be held from April 13 to 18 this year before being rescheduled again, although new dates have yet to be confirmed.

The top 12 national teams will compete over one week to be crowned world champions, with the event set to involve more than 60 athletes, their support teams, officials and event staff.

Defending champions France, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and the United States have qualified for the finals.