PSA World Tour gains momentum after six months of lockdown
By ALAN THATCHER and ELLIE MAWSON
The PSA World Tour is gathering momentum as professional players prepare for a return to work following the six-month lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
As well as three events already scheduled for September and October, one in Manchester and two in Egypt, further tournaments have been added to a provisional calendar taking shape for the rest of the year.
Players, tournament officials and accredited visitors will all have to comply with strict hygiene protocols at all events for the foreseeable future.
Spectators will not be present when the World Tour resumes with the Manchester Open, a PSA Silver event beginning on September 16 at the National Squash Centre next door to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.
However, we are waiting to hear if fans will be allowed to watch the CIB PSA World Tour Finals which take place at Cairo’s Mall of Arabia between September 28 and October 3, with Cairo then hosting the CIB Egyptian Open, a PSA World Tour Platinum event, one week later.
The entry lists for the Manchester Open and the CIB PSA World Tour finals will be released next week. All tournaments will abide by strict protocols with relation to health and safety, international travel policies and social distancing guidelines.
COVID-19 protocols are in place and all those attending the events will be tested for COVID-19 before travelling and must produce a negative result.
Upon arrival into the country players and event staff will be tested again and a strict tournament bubble will be put in place for accredited people. Testing will continue to take place every four days during tournaments, with strict measures in place at all venues to keep all participants safe.
All three tournaments will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world), Eurosport Player (Europe only) the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (rest of world) and the channels of contracted broadcasters.
A provisional calendar remains in place for November – December 2020, with four Platinum events (Qatar Classic, El Gouna International, Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Open and the CIB Black Ball Open) planned to take place before the end of the year.
PSA World Tour Schedule: September 2020 – October 2020
Manchester Open (Silver): September 16-22 in Manchester, England
CIB PSA World Tour Finals (Finals): September 28 – October 3 in Cairo, Egypt
CIB Egyptian Open (Platinum): October 10-17 in Cairo, Egypt
PSA World Tour Provisional Schedule: November 2020 – December 2020
Qatar Classic (Platinum): November 1-7 in Doha, Qatar
El Gouna International (Platinum): November 14-20 in El Gouna, Egypt
Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Open (Platinum): November 30 – December 6 in Hong Kong
CIB Black Ball Open (Platinum): December 12-18 in Cairo, Egypt
The provisional calendar is subject to change and a further update will be issued at the end of September. A number of PSA World Tour events have also been provisionally confirmed for 2021, including the rescheduled Allam British Open, and these will be announced later this year.
The first PSA Challenger Tour event following the tour suspension will be the Expression Networks Nolan and Liam’s Tournament in Prague, Czech Republic on Thursday September 10. Domestic and limited international participation Challenger Tour events will be sanctioned from that date onwards. Tournaments on the WSF and PSA Satellite Tour are being sanctioned as of Thursday August 27 onwards.
“We are delighted to confirm that professional squash is now in a position to resume and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our players, tournament promoters and commercial partners for their support during what has been an unprecedented global situation,” said PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough.
“We have worked incredibly hard with all of the relevant stakeholders in order to schedule these three tournaments. While the remainder of the 2020 PSA World Tour calendar remains provisional at this time, we are continuing to have positive conversations with tournament promoters and remain hopeful that we will soon be able to confirm our plans for November and December.
“It goes without saying that the health and safety of all players and on-site staff is at the forefront of our thinking and we have put in place robust COVID-19 measures at our PSA World Tour events to mitigate against potential risks.
“It’s been too long since our athletes have had the opportunity to entertain us all with their incredible athleticism and tremendous skill and I look forward to watching them all return to action this month. Of course, with certain events not having spectators to cheer them on it will not be the same, but we will endeavour to showcase the very best of the action via SQUASHTV, our social media channels and the channels of our contracted media partners, so fans don’t miss a thing.”
Pictures and graphic courtesy of PSA