Squash chiefs are looking at ways to unite the men’s and women’s tours in a bid to attract ‘big fish’ sponsors.
Alex Gough (pictured), CEO of the men’s Professional Squash Association, revealed in a BBC interview that talks are planned to help forge a united front as squash looks to re-group following the disappointment of losing out on their Olympic bid.
Gough said: “We’re actively talking to the women’s tour and want to bring them into the PSA, and have men’s and women’s tours within that. The conversations have started in earnest and there seems to be an appetite for it. It’s the mapping out of it that is tricky.
“We’re going to work quite hard on putting a proposal together that gives everyone confidence it’s the best thing for the sport. That’s the plan between now and the end of the year – mapping out the next five or 10 years.”
The issue arose when the leading men gathered for their annual general meeting in Manchester last weekend, and it seems that there is enthusiasm on both sides.
“I was surprised,” admitted Gough. “I thought there might be more, ‘We don’t need them,’ but they were very much aware that our next big task is bringing in more and more sponsors, and as we speak to all the big corporations it’s all about equality in sport.
“You almost feel that unless we are joined up as one tour, getting that big fish, that big sponsor, is going to be difficult. It would be a really positive story.”
Women’s Squash Association director Suzie Pierrepont(pictured) added:
“It’s certainly something to work towards. It makes a lot of sense looking at the next step in that progression from the Olympic decision. It’s not something a lot of other sports have done.
“I think it’s step by step because the overlap [between the men’s and women’s tours] is already there, and it makes sense if we’re wasting resources.”
It is an idea that appeals to world No.2 Laura Massaro, although she admits some of her contemporaries have reservations.
“The players are keen but we might need to be in a bit of a stronger position financially,” she said. “There’s a bit of a worry we’d get swallowed up, but my belief is we won’t and we’d be stronger. I’m really keen for it. We can both benefit.”
Read the full BBC story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/squash/24715911