KL cancellation leaves players angry as govt blast promoters
By Alan Thatcher, Squash Mad Editor
The PSA have finally confirmed that the 2015 Women’s World Championship, scheduled for Malaysia, has been cancelled. At the same time, a furious sports minister has accused the promoters of “preposterous blackmail”.
With some players stranded in Hong Kong, having booked flights to Kuala Lumpur and paid for hotel accommodation, the final confirmation of the situation nails any lingering doubts that the event could somehow be saved.
Players feel angry, insulted and treated with a lack of respect by the promoters, the Hallmark Group. The PSA will now ask players to submit claims for expenses incurred in heading to Malaysia.
In the latest revelations published by The Star, a furious Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin accused the promoters, the Hallmark Group, of attempted blackmail.
He said: “In the email they sent, they said they can proceed with event next week if the Malaysian government can provide sponsorship, including RM3.5mil ($850,000 US), for private security arrangements,” said Khairy.
“I do not appreciate that, being blackmailed by the organisers in using the issue of security and painting Malaysia in a bad light when a large part of the reason why they decided to postpone this was because of sponsorship. This is preposterous, absolutely preposterous. I’m not going to be blackmailed by an international event organiser.”
The event was due to go ahead from December 11-18 at the Bukit Jalil National Squash Centre and a planned city centre site close to the Petronas Towers, although this latter venue was never confirmed in any media release.
It is an embarrassing episode for squash, coming in the same week as the postponement of the Men’s World Team Championship because of security fears in Cairo, highlighted by a city-centre bomb killing 16 people yesterday morning.
The PSA’s letter to players is published below:
We regret to announce that the 2015 Women’s World Championship will not be staged this calendar year following notification from the tournament promoters Hallmark Events Group.
As a result we advise you to cancel any travel arrangements that you have made for the event in Kuala Lumpur.
Please email the office with proof of expenses that you have incurred after you have made the required changes. The Board will discuss reimbursement of costs at their next meeting.
We appreciate that the uncertainty surrounding this situation has been very frustrating for players, and we will provide you with a more substantial update in due course.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.