Saturday, June 22, 2024

Squash continues aim for pro referees and ‘free-flowing sport’

Lee Drew, the head of World Squash Officiating (WSO), wants to professionalise refereeing as he bids to develop a global message of communication and the sport’s tour governing body aiming for an “entertaining and free-flowing sport”.

A former Professional Squash Association refereeing director, Drew was last week announced as the head of WSO, an online education and appraisal portal designed to standardise officiating qualifications worldwide. This comes despite Squash Mad unveiling Drew in his new role back in February.

Drew, a former player and national coach who became PSA’s refereeing Director in 2014, will spearhead WSO’s efforts to improve officiating standards across the sport and hire the sport’s first full-time professional referees.

“The opportunity of evolving WSO is exciting because it can have a huge impact on officiating and the way the game is played and portrayed,” said Drew.

“It is important that we develop a consistent message and communicate it globally. WSO needs to move forward as a high-performing entity that offers world-class products and delivery. There is currently a massive disparity between money generated in the game and the money invested into officiating, and we want to begin to professionalise the sector and reinvest back into the development of officiating at all levels.

“A major goal for WSO is to introduce more people to the rules and officiating as early on in their experience of squash as possible. To achieve this, it is crucial that we get our messaging and content circulating worldwide with the support from as many squash stakeholders as possible.”

Meanwhile, Roy Gingell has left Squash Wales and to become professional referee and development lead with WSO.

The highly-regarded Welshman will be responsible for overseeing the officiating standards and development of referees at the elite level, as well as officiating more events during the squash season.

WSF Chief Executive William Louis-Marie said: “The development of worldwide qualified referees remains an important goal of the WSF and the appointment of Lee as the head of WSO will help build on the work that has already been accomplished in the last couple of years.

“We are confident that WSO will greatly contribute to the growth of the refereeing community in a more diverse and inclusive way in keeping with the universality of our sport and offer more opportunities for the international referees to officiate at all major events around the world. Lee’s input has already been visible with the recent addition of new educational courses aimed at giving all our players a better understanding of the rules of the sport.”

PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough said that Drew would be a valuable asset to the WSO after nine years at the PSA as referee director.

He said: “We want squash to be an entertaining and free-flowing sport and the WSO will play a crucial role in developing referees and educating our athletes to ensure that the sport remains an engaging spectacle at the highest level.”

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