Fontaine pledges closer ties with PSA to grow the game
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad International Correspondent
In a New Year message to the global squash community, World Squash Federation President Jacques Fontaine hails a new era for the game after a challenging 2019. The recent appointment of William Louis-Marie as the Federation’s new Chief Executive Officer is a testament to the new ambition of WSF.
The former AIBA Executive Director took up his role earlier this month and met the sport’s leading players and delegates from National Federations around the world at the WSF Men’s World Team Championship in Washington DC. Fittingly, Egypt celebrated their stranglehold on the sport by retaining the title after beating England, the birthplace of the sport, in the final.
“The World Championship provided the perfect climax to 2019, not only attracting the world’s top players but also many of the sport’s leading officials – giving William Louis-Marie the perfect springboard to plan for 2020 and beyond,” said Fontaine.
“One of the key components to our future success is our strengthened relationship with the PSA and this partnership was clear to see in the support they provided to our hugely-successful World Team Championship, the first to be held in the USA.
“After successful presentations of the sport in the Pan-American Games, the South Asian Games and the SEA Games in 2019, the WSF will stage three major championships in 2020: the World Masters in Poland, the World Junior Championships in Australia and the Women’s World Team Championship in Malaysia and we are confident this will foster the potential of our sport and greatly benefit our National Federations that host these events.
“Furthermore, plans are underway to relaunch the World Cup in 2020, one of our major assets that needs to be part of our portfolio of tournaments organised under the WSF umbrella.
“In addition to strengthening our governance and independence with a clear focus on generating new revenues, we will be working to establish stronger relationships with major Continental and International sporting bodies to ensure the presence and exposure of squash the world over.
“After painstaking work with the PSA, the launch of the WSO (World Squash Officiating) platform will definitely improve our officiating the world over and support our members locally.
“Our focus will remain on expanding our sport globally and ensuring an emphasis on coach and referee training to support a balanced development of our sport from grass roots to the elite level.
“Underlying our plans for 2020 will be the bid to establish stronger cooperation between all squash stakeholders, as squash will continue to address all challenges responsibly and professionally for the best interest of our sport.”
Louis-Marie added: “In 2020, with the support of the Board and the Executive Committee, I am convinced we will keep building on the vitality of our sport, the support of our partners, the outstanding performances of men and women players the world over and the dynamism of our members to showcase squash as one of the most entertaining racket sports in the world.”
Fontaine concluded: “I’m confident 2020 will be a rich and successful year for squash and I’m looking forward to closely cooperating with all our members for the betterment of our sport.”
Pictures courtesy of WSF