In a surprise move, the dispute between the governing body of the men’s game, the Professional Squash Association (PSA) and the US-based Pro Squash Tour (PST), which the PSA barred its players from competing in partly due to the latter’s controversial “no let” policy, has been solved.
The mechanism which allows the two organisations to come together under one code is the introduction of a “half point”, to be awarded to the player least at fault whenever a rally ends in a let.
“We were always confident that our point every rally approach was the right one for the spectators, the players and the promoters,” said PST commissioner Joe McManus, “but we knew that insisting on a positive outcome for every rally might result in some arbitrary and, to some observers, strange decisions being made. This compromise allows us to keep the flow of the game going, and reduces the effect of some of those decisions on the outcome of the match, which is a win-win situation. Back the bid.”
PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough had different reasons for liking the new ruling, known as HPR:
“We’ve made great progress in recent years with the introduction of the three-referee system and now the video review facility, but we’d realised for a while that something needed to be done to try to reduce the amount of replayed rallies that featured in some of our matches. It was this week’s KL Open where we had two matches of 112 minutes duration, each with over 100 decisions required that brought the matter to a head.
“That can’t be good for the game as we make our push for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics, so we convened an emergency board meeting, brought Joe and a few others across to Cardiff to get their input, and after a pretty heavy session we came up with the half-point compromise. We believe we’ve solved the let situation at a stroke. Back the bid.”
The new rule comes into immediate effect for all PSA and PST matches, with the sport’s governing body the World Squash Federation (WSF) expected to ratify the change and roll it out worldwide after their next board meeting.
“It sounds like a great idea to me,” said WSF Chief Executive Andrew Shelley, “brilliantly simple, and anything that helps us present a united front to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) while making the game flow smoothly along can only be good for everyone. Back the bid.”
The Women’s Squash Association (WSA), European Squash Federation (ESF), Asian Squash Federation (ASF) and all other three-lettered Squash bodies are expected to fall into line once the WSF ratifies the change.
“It may seem a little harsh limiting the new ruling to those bodies with three-letter acronyms,” explained WSA (formerly WISPA) tour director Tim Garner, who was also involved in the Cardiff meeting, “but it’s all part of the move to show the IOC that squash is united and consistent, so we’d urge any governing bodies who haven’t adopted a new three-letter acronym yet to do so as soon as possible so that they can take advantage of the new half point ruling. Back the bid.”