The three-time world champion spoke to Squash Mad on squash's biggest controversy and says no one is winning from the World No.1's divisive fan split. Nick Matthew believes that Egypt's Mostafa Asal is now faced with a choice of two paths when it comes to the six-week suspension and £2,000 fine he had slapped on […]
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First, Asal has to be guilty of something. In the Makin match, he was not guilty of a single thing and Makin played the man throughout the match screaming like a two year old girl and when he couldn’t find the whole man, he found his left arm. Quite incredible. He then admits to committing the same offence which was Asal was banned for by DELIBERATELY Asal but Masserella gives a “no let”. All this by outright cheating with changing of the ball in the 5th game the referee refusing to give him sight of the ball and threatening him with a conduct stroke.
If ever a player had a right to feel aggrieved and give it all up, it was there and then.
Decisions against Asal for the past 6 months have been biased beyond belief including reviewing in the minimal interference played through 4 SHOTS EARLIER.
The 100% guilty parties are the players who feed off a reputation that died two years ago and referees who look at where his left arm is rather than where he has hit the ball, could the opponent have for the ball and no lets for playing the man and then screaming like babies.
He was charged with deliberate obstruction with his left leg when in fact his left leg made no contact whatsoever with his opponent. It will be very interesting to see how they write that up because he cannot be found guilty as charges. His excessive swing was standard practice of raising your racket vertically to make sure that it finished way above your opponent’s head unlike Marwan’s recent decapitation of Makin which went by with no comment from the referee. Conduct match for me.
All the players have done actions repeatedly since September 2022 which are far far far worse than anything Asal has done and not even spoken to.
As for the delay, that was deliberate by the PSA – having failed to prevent him from becoming world No1 in January having banned him pending appeal in December (a month late because of their own incompetence) – they deliberately waited so that their ban would have max effect and prevent him from playing on British Open.
Also, in terms of common sense, decency and professionalism, to ban a player with less than 24 hours before a tournament is an insult to the fans who have laid expecting to see Asal and the tournament organisers billing. The PSA have very strict rules in their “rules of conduct” concerning late withdrawal and just shown that they don’t give a fig about their own principles. What a disgrace.
No just ban him ,, just ban him , for good , he is a real psychopath ,, he will not accept his guilt , his father and team are extreme , he is a cheat , totally disrespectful , dangerous and above all a Nasty piece of work , I’d like 5 minutes with the gloves on in the gym , I’m 60 yrs old and would love it . Bring it on Asshole . Squash don’t need You .
First it was his trailing leg, then his trailing arm, then purposely hiding a ball from him, they ref told him not to speak to him, then when the ball went out of the court and he retrieved it, the ref delayed the game by complaining about the delay. You can hate the guy as much as you want, but that doesn’t give you the right to abuse him.
The thing is, things have moved on. Asal has made an effort to clean up his game, so it must feel like a kick in the teeth to be banned now. His attitude has not changed much but that’s hardly surprising given all the conspiracy theories flying about. Those people need to realise they are not helping either the sport or Mostafa by filling his head with these ideas. That said, it was not Asal who caused the mayhem in the CW final – players have been coming onto court against him knowing they are the underdogs or particularly wanting to win certain matches and creating havok – Hesham did it in the EO QF when Asal was given the first conduct stroke this ban relates to. Makin did it at CW and more or less admitted it. I have yet to watch the Farag match. Asal has tended to respond in a heavy-handed way and his play can clearly be dangerous, but we must give credit where credit’s due. Everyone must accept their part in calming things down – referees, players and fans as well as Asal himself. Those who think all this is good for squash are mistaken and it needs to be resolved. I hope he will take the ban on the chin, understand that neither the ruling nor the delay is personal and continue working on what he has begun.
The PSA is taking a principled position with Asal. A suspension is warranted as a consequence of his behavior and to protect the integrity of the game. The essence of squash is two fit competitors battling for control of the “T.” The rules are easily learned. Learning and understanding the spirit of civility implicit in squash comes from experience. The fierce competition by two people sharing the same space taking turns to keep the ball in play without injury or intentional interference is what makes the game fun to play and to watch. What makes a squash racquet match intriguing is the athleticism of the players implementing a blend of technique and creativity while following rules that promote safety and sportsmanship. In such situations players play the ball not the opponent. The rules accommodate a player’s ability to continue a rally without fear of obstruction. Conduct that erodes athleticism, competition, and sportsmanship erodes the foundation of a beautiful game. Fighting for control of the T is a mental competition not a physical one. It is achieved by superior movement, racquet skills, and creative implementation of tactics and strategy. If the outcome of a match can be decided by physical interference/violence then squash racquets loses what is unique and worthwhile. The intangible and priceless purpose of the sport is lost. Asal is a highly gifted squash player (fun to watch) who is missing an essential element of winning squash: character.
Thanks for your balanced and refreshing perspective Nick. Im sure your views are representative of the silent majority.
Asal has reached world number one by consistently attacking his opponent’s path to the ball, often in a dangerous manner. This has been paired with a natural talent for the squash.
A lot of the time this movement back to the centre is in fact a block rather than clearing the path to the ball and referees have not been confident enough to rule so. Asal is by no means the only player pushing the envelope here. Other players have developed their own way to cope with this strategy, and this is creating even more problems for the referees.
The reason Asal (and his team) has not changed, is that the strategy has been successful. Yes, there the “conspiracy theories”, but these are essential a defence of Asal’s right to play in the manner he is. Asal is twenty-one and has been in and around the top-flight of world squash for over 5 years. He is not young anymore, neither in terms of his age nor in terms of squash experience. It will be difficult for him to now re-invent his (sporting) behavioural style.
Because of Asal’s success, there is now a significant group of players (particularly up and coming youngsters) who view this strategy as the way to play and these players tend to referee games in the same fashion. This is increasingly pushing the sport into disarray both at the elite and domestic levels.
The problem has not been helped by the PSA’s historical reluctance to get on top of it both in terms of time and consistency.
My gut feeling is that there now needs to be a program developed to address the issue at the PSA level and grass roots level internationally. Ideally, this would involve presentations by players at the top level. If necessary, the rules around retreating after playing a should be further codified in such a way that clubs, countries, professionals, and factions are left in no doubt as to what is expected. A for-the-good-of-the-game approach to the clear division that is now out there. That should probably also include a way to speed up the appeal process, especially at the top level which is almost always videoed.
It takes incredible passion to progress in any sport let alone reach its top levels. In many cases that means going to limit of what the rules of the game allow. Players that are unable to stay within those rules must be allowed to fall out of the game regardless of how naturally talented they may be. Without respect for our opponents and the spirit of fairness we are no longer playing sport. I wish Asal good luck whichever path he chooses.
A long suspension e.g. 6 months or more would be fair since Asal has shown limited signs of wanting to change his style.of play. Every match he plays in after return from suspension should be closely monitored and further suspensions imposed sooner rather than later if there is still no change in behaviour.
Asal is a genuine talent but he is too familiar with the dark arts that some winners
use to get over the line. He is now a victim of his own arrogance . NM is correct get on court, play properly, grow up and win. He is more than capable of doing this. If he does nt he will be the real loser and squash will quickly move on and forget him.
It’s very sad to read these racist and bitter old colonial mentality comments coming from bitter old white men. Asal is the future of squash either you all want it or not. I’m afraid your old mentality will make the future generation of your squash talent (who majority of them love and adore Asal) not to take squash seriously. Lastly, banking Asal would amount to nothing we saw it didn’t work for Agassi, Serena, Muhammad Ali, McEnroe etc and it won’t work with Asal. I think it’s time for a breakaway squash organization now just like what happened in golf and cricket.
fascinating debate and regretably somethingthat gets us all talking – maybe better to talk about what is good about the game currently – that said can anyone tell me why foot faulting is so rarely picked up/penalised yet so commonly done?
Asal has brought the game if squash into disrepute and he needs to grow up…..its that simple
These tantrums and stupid end of match celebrations are toxic for the game and make true supporters cringe.
Well you certainly have a clear understanding of the game….NOT