The Professional Squash Association (PSA) and the Women’s Squash Association (WSA), the global governing bodies for men’s and women’s squad, respectively, are to merge.
The merger will take place on January 1, with the WSA disbanded and effectively absorbed into the PSA. It is hoped that the merger will curtail the disparity in prize money between men and women.
“As a small sport looking to grow, it was an obvious choice for us to do,” PSA chief executive Alex Gough told UK public-service broadcaster the BBC. “Conversations between the two tours started a few years ago when we were working towards the bid to make squash an Olympic sport for 2020. For the Olympic bid the men and women's tours need to be presented side by side, with a much more joined-up approach, and that then leads to equality, prize money and equal opportunities.”
WSA chief executive Tommy Berden added: “The WSA members are very excited to merge with the men and form one unified governing body for professional squash. Over the past 10 months we have been able to discuss in depth how the merger will benefit our sport and we really feel this is the right time to move things forward for both the men’s and the women’s tours. It’s encouraging to see that more promoters are following the example set by the US Open to pay equal prize money and we are expecting more events to follow suit in the upcoming year. The response from both memberships has been overwhelmingly positive and we are looking forward to starting the transition phase to unify the two associations.”
The 2013 men’s world champion, Nick Matthew (pictured), received more than double the prize money that was received by the 2013 women’s world champion, Laura Massaro. “The men's World Championship is over double any of our other events in terms of sponsorship,” Gough continued.
“What we need to do is make the women's game more commercial, as is the case in tennis, where the women's game is equally commercial to the men's,” he added. “The more the PSA can invest in the PR and communications of the women's tour, those commercial values will catch up quite quickly, particularly when we have the likes of Nicol David, who is an absolute superstar in Asia. A merger can help us accelerate the work we do.”