EXCLUSIVE By ALAN THATCHER
LAST-DITCH efforts are being made to stage a Women’s World Open in what remains of 2013 as a chorus of unrest and anger is growing louder from furious WSA members and former star players.
The WSA have quashed rumours suggesting that the forthcoming Hong Kong Open could be rebranded as the World Open for female players.
In response to questions from www.SquashMad.com the WSA spokesman Elliot Selby said today: “It was an avenue that was looked at but I can confirm that the Hong Kong Open will not be the World Open.”
The statement did not mention the nature of rumoured discussions with any alternative venues or potential sponsors.
WSA members are growing increasingly bitter that the men’s World Championship is poised to start in Manchester with no female event on the calendar.
One player, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “The US Open showed the way forward with equal prize money for the PSA and WSA tournaments so it is extremely disappointing to have no Women’s World Open on the calendar.
“I cannot understand how the WSF can allow no women’s World Open to happen, I understand that WSA run the event under their own banner but not to have a Women’s World Open is a disgrace to the game, past players, current players, and players of the future.”
British Open champion Laura Massaro revealed that the dispute over prize money in Philadelphia, sparked by a PSA member’s comments on Twitter, made her more determined than ever, but she just fell short of a stunning double triumph over Nicol David by surrendering a 2-1 lead.
Having promoted a small WSA event in Manchester earlier this year, she would have loved the opportunity to win a World Open just a few miles from her home in Preston.
A number of leading players are understood to have complained to the WSA, WSF and England Squash.
Several more have made critical comments on social media sites.
In an interview with the Malaysian Star, WSA board member Emma Beddoes claimed that several venues were keen to host a Women’s World Open.
“There are actually several venues that have expressed an interest in hosting the World Open and we are actually pretty close to finalising the details,” said Beddoes.
“It should be in December, although we are unable to reveal the dates and venues just yet due to sponsor obligations.”