The World Squash Federation (WSF) has confirmed that its Men’s World Team Squash Championship, which was due to take place in the Egyptian capital of Cairo later this month, has been postponed.
Earlier this week, several teams – including defending champion England, Canada, Finland, France, Germany and the US – pulled out of the event, which is scheduled to run from December 12-18, due to security concerns. WSF chief executive Andrew Shelley described the withdrawals at the time as “both disappointing and a little difficult to understand as there has been no security threat there, unlike for the people of other nations tragically targeted by extremists”.
However, just hours after a petrol bomb attack at a restaurant and nightclub in Cairo killed 16 people, the WSF released a statement this (Friday) afternoon to confirm that the Egyptian Squash Federation had requested that the event be called off.
“We request this postponement with a heavy heart as Cairo is a safe city,” Assem Khalifa, the Egyptian Squash Federation president, said. “All arrangements for the holding of the event are in place, including full government support to ensure protection as would be afforded to visiting VIPs, and so there is no reason for the championship not to proceed.
“However, we are mindful that some teams did not wish to attend the championship for their own reasons and wish to end any uncertainty for other nations in a positive way by postponing until a later date. It pains us to do so as there is no reason for this and many teams have incurred costs, but it is something we must do to be fair to all.”
WSF president Narayana Ramachandran added: “It is distressing that this event in the wonderful city of Cairo is being postponed. We can only thank the Egyptian Federation again for stepping in to take it on at short notice after the Kuwait NOC (National Olympic Committee) suspension by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) required us to relocate. We will liaise with all member nations after we have taken stock of the position.”