ATTEMPTS by Scottish Squash to host the World Doubles Championships later this year have been thwarted in an ongoing behind-the-scenes political dispute.
The Herald reporter Kevin Ferrie has revealed that Scottish Squash officials have been frustrated by the owners of the Commonwealth Games venue at Scotstoun.
Scotland stepped in with an offer to stage the event when Malaysia pulled out of hosting the World Doubles Championship in June.
However, it has emerged that discussions looking into the possibility with Glasgow Life – owners of the facility at Scotstoun that will stage the Commonwealth Games squash tournament – have been halted.
Squash officials suspected it was the result of an intervention by Glasgow 2014 organisers, although this was denied by both Glasgow 2014 and Glasgow Life.
News that the Scottish rescue mission had failed emerged yesterday when Andrew Shelley, chief executive of the World Squash Federation, told his governing body.
“Scottish Squash’s push to host the World Doubles were thwarted by difficulties in gaining permission to use the Scotstoun venue in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games dates,” he said.
“We are grateful for their efforts but it does mean the event [scheduled for June 2-8] will have to be cancelled unless another host comes forward immediately.”
He was told the problems included a lack of parking – it is not always available when other big events are staged at Scotstoun – and “overlay”.
The news drew a frustrated response from SSRL officials: “The decision to deny Scotland a world tournament with vague, unsubstantial and, we believe, unsustainable reasons is very disappointing,” said a spokesman.
“The event was justified on very good sporting reasons; the World Squash Federation had confirmed as much to Glasgow Life, the venue owner.”
John Dunlop, the chief executive of SSRL, said he had been told that objections to the World Doubles taking place had been made by representatives of Glasgow 2014, but a spokeswoman for that body denied any involvement on their part in the decision to veto the bid.
“Glasgow 2014 has received no requests from SSRL regarding their bid to bring the 2014 World Doubles Championships to Glasgow in late May/early June,” she said.
“Had Glasgow 2014 been approached, we would have explained that, since the proposed dates for the event fall outside the period when the Organising Committee needs exclusive access to the main centre of Scotstoun Sports Campus, any decision to host this event would be at the discretion of the venue owners, Glasgow Life.
“Glasgow 2014 continues to work positively with Glasgow Life and other venue owners in preparations for an athlete-centred, sport-focused Games.”
A spokesman for Glasgow Life said: “We discussed hosting the event with Scottish Squash, but its proximity to the Commonwealth Games and the work required to prepare the facility for competition meant we could not accommodate it. The decision was taken by Glasgow Life and was in no way influenced by Glasgow 2014.
“We will continue to work with Scottish Squash to explore other opportunities in the future,” he said.
Pictures courtesy of Scottish Squash