PSA restructures tour circuit, strengthens WSF ties

The Professional Squash Association (PSA) has revealed details of its new tour structure and also announced a joint tour with the World Squash Federation (WSF) as part of the two bodies’ recently-signed Memorandum of Understanding.

The PSA’s new professional squash tour structure will come into effect from the 2018-19 season. The changes will see the current PSA World Tour rebranded into two individual circuits – the PSA World Tour and PSA Challenger Tour. Qualification rounds will be scrapped under the reforms, with a series of new tournament tiers to be introduced on both circuits.

The PSA World Tour will continue to feature the current top-tier events which offer total prize money ranging from $50,000 (€40,000) to $1m and above. New tournament tiers will be introduced in the shape of World Tour Platinum, featuring 48-player draws, and World Tour Gold, World Tour Silver and World Tour Bronze, each of which will feature 24-player draws.

The 2018-19 PSA World Championships will be the first edition of the event under the new tour structure and will feature a record prize fund of $1m. Both draws will feature 56 PSA entrants and one wildcard, with the other seven places to be taken up by winners from selected tournaments on the PSA Challenger Tour in a ‘Road to Chicago’ competition.

The PSA Challenger Tour will feature both up-and-coming and experienced players, with tournaments offering prize money of between $5,500 and $30,000. Tournament tiers will consist of Challenger Tour 30, Challenger Tour 20, Challenger Tour 10 and Challenger Tour 5, with a round-robin system to be trialled at selected Challenger Tour 5 events during the 2018-19 season.

Meanwhile, in partnership with the WSF, the PSA will form the WSF & PSA Satellite Tour, which will integrate sanctioned world, regional, national and junior tournaments into the PSA World Rankings system. The tour will strengthen the link between the two bodies, creating a pathway to the professional circuit for up-and-coming players.

The WSF & PSA Satellite Tour will run throughout the calendar year, comprising the WSF National Championships, Satellite Tournaments, World & Regional Junior Championships, National Junior Opens and National Junior Championships. Players will earn PSA World Ranking points based on their results at tournaments on the PSA World Tour, PSA Challenger Tour and the WSF & PSA Satellite Tour.

PSA chief executive Alex Gough said: “We are committed to promoting a thriving and sustainable professional squash circuit and feel that simplifying the tour structure and easing the transition from junior squash to professional squash will help us to achieve those aims.

“Since signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the WSF in August 2017, we have been hugely encouraged by the commitment from both sides to forge a strong working relationship and believe that partnering with the WSF in this manner will be a significant boost to the growth of the sport in the coming years.”

WSF president Jacques Fontaine added: “It was an important intention for me to bring WSF and PSA closer together when I became WSF president, as a unified sport will progress even more strongly. Our MoU has achieved this aim. Now joining together to allow players competing in our member nation's national and junior championships to have the opportunity of ranking points is an example showing the benefits of this unity.

“Our priorities as a sport are to offer leadership in education, accessibility and sustainability, and competition too – and our strong bond with PSA addresses the last pillar especially. I am sure that the WSF & PSA Satellite Tour will go from strength to strength.”