PSA v PST
The PSA has banned its members from playing in
"non-recognised tour events", specifically the US Pro Squash
Tour, famous - or infamous - for its "no lets" initiative
An announcement of a new
series of invitation events, named the "Premier Squash Tour"
which would allow clubs to choose "from any of the world's
top players, without exception" suggested a resolution had
been reached between Joe McManus's PST and the PSA.
But, three days later another announcement offering a
$100,000 bonus to the first top ten player to sign for the
PST signalled something quite different ...
Offers $100,000 Signing Bonus to World's Best Squash Players
The Pro Squash Tour (PST), announced today that it is
offering a $100,000 signing bonus to the first World Top 10
player who makes a multi-year commitment to the PST.
"The PST is the fastest growing tour," said PST Commissioner
and CEO Joseph McManus. "Our fans have been magnificent in
supporting our well-managed, family-friendly events. This
gesture should signal to all that we are committed to
investing in our players and providing our fans with world
Three months ago the UK-based Professional Squash
Association banned its 500 members from playing in PST
tournaments. The ban was singular in its focus, as its
members continue to compete in the BSPA Tour, the ISDA Tour,
leagues in England, France, Germany and a host of other
tournaments and professional squash competitions throughout
This past October, PST filed a lawsuit in New York Superior
Court to have the ban lifted. PST is withdrawing the suit
and will instead spend the money it budgeted for a lawsuit
on its players. "We will now compete in the squash court
rather than in the court of law," said McManus.
"The length of a court case made it impractical to follow
that path," continued McManus. "Our case is a winner, but it
could have taken two years to resolve. Instead of spending
money on lawyers and court costs, we are choosing to invest
in our product - the world's best athletes."
More than 150 years old and played by more than 20 million
people in 185 countries, squash has shown sustained growth
in the US. in recent years. The U.S.-based Pro Squash Tour
was founded in 2009 and coordinates a tour with stops across
the United States. The season begins in September and runs
07-Jan-11: Premier Squash Tour Launched
In the very near term, I will be forming a company called
"Premier Squash Tour."
Tournaments on the Premier Tour will be invitational events,
allowing clubs great flexibility in choosing which pros are
invited to compete.
I will continue to collaborate with David Palmer on this
project. His institutional knowledge, expertise, and
professionalism make him the ideal partner.
Clubs who host a Premier Squash Tournament will be able to
choose from any of the world's top players, without
Premier's customized events are characterized by elite
squash and personal access to the world's most entertaining
personalities. Each event will be tailored to match the
individual needs of the host club.
Please consider hosting a Premier event and let your friends
know about this exciting opportunity to see the world's best
athletes compete in the most intimate of environments.
Premier's first event will be at the Westchester Country
Club (Feb. 5 and 6).
After a period of public quiteness, the PSA/PST dispute came
to the surface again this week, with PST's Joe McManus
releasing a YouTube video (below) titlev "negotiations
stall", which elicited this response from the PSA ...
PSA Statement re PST
a number of misleading press releases by the Pro Squash
Tour, the Professional Squash Association wish to set out
their position with regards to the dispute that currently
exists between the PSA and the PST. The PSA wanted there to
be a dignified silence regarding the dispute, whilst the
parties discussed matters, but unfortunately that is no
The Pro Squash Tour started as a series of exhibition
matches approximately 18 months ago. It was originally
branded as the US Pro Squash Tour but, as a result of
conflict with US Squash, re-branded as the Pro Squash Tour.
The Tour progressed and started to provide ranking points
for their events. A clear conflict then existed between the
PSA and the PST. This conflict does not exist with other
leagues, doubles, or exhibition events.
Notwithstanding that only a few PSA members played the PST,
the Board instructed their CEO to meet with a representative
of the PST during the US Open in Chicago in October to
express our concern about the direction that the PST were
taking. A Director of the PSA also attended an event run by
the PST. As a result of the above, the Board unanimously
voted to amend the Tour Guide to reflect the conflict of
interest that existed.
The PST is a commercial organisation, running events in
order to make a profit. The PSA is a member-owned
Association whose Board members receive no salary - and any
profit made from the Tour is put back into the Tour. The
members vote the Board members into position and have the
power to remove them. The Board are empowered by the
Articles of Association to act in the best interests of the
members. The members can vote to amend any decision made by
the Board at an AGM. An Annual General Meeting was convened
last week at the World Open in Saudi Arabia. No motion was
suggested by any member to change the decision made by the
Board of Directors with regards to the conflict of interest
that existed with the PST.
The PST instructed lawyers who issued draft proceedings out
of New York in late October. The first paragraph of that
summons reads "on the 14th October 2010, by an imperial
edict harkening back to the times when England tried to
impose unreasonable control and taxes on the American
colonies, the United Kingdom based PSA banned its players
from playing in any US-based PST squash tournaments". It is
worthy of note that the PSA, whilst based in Wales, not
England, represents 510 members from 66 nations. Their
Directors are based in the United States, France, Egypt,
Saudi Arabia and England.
Within one day of the receipt of the draft summons, the PSA
authorised its Director Richard Bramall and the CEO Alex
Gough to meet with the PST and their Lawyer. They did so by
telephone conference on the 29th October. On that telephone
call, the PSA defended their legal right to advise their
members how they conduct themselves whilst they are members
of the PSA. The PSA also made offers of compromise in
respect of two areas of conflict that existed. Three weeks
later a response was received from the Lawyers who
represented the PST agreeing to some proposals, made but not
others. Within one day, further suggestions were made by the
PSA to compromise the remaining issue. Ten Days later a
response was received that compromise was not possible. Two
further offers were made by the PSA, both of which were
The PSA entirely refute the suggestion that the PST have had
a "wall of silence" to their complaint or indeed that the
PST have driven the suggested compromise. That is simply
untrue. Were it not for the legal privilege that exists for
negotiated correspondence, the PSA would gladly publish the
exchanges between the parties. It is simply incorrect to
suggest that the PSA want the PST to cease to exist. This is
an over dramatic response to a simple suggestion in respect
of the final area of dispute that exists between the
This dispute can be settled quickly and amicably: It is in
the PST's hands, not the PSA's. The PSA have been extremely
frustrated that it has taken the PST from the third week in
October until now to deal with matters. The PSA calls for
the parties involved with the PST to consider the good of
the game and compromise. The PSA believe that further debate
could take place on the issue, but it is clear that "the
line in the sand", as it has been called, is in fact the
PST's and not the PSA's.
The PSA work in conjunction with the WSF (World Squash
Federation) and WISPA (Women's International Squash Players'
Association), together with the National Federations. In
their 20-year history, the PSA have not been in the position
they find themselves in now with these proceedings.
Issues Tour Participation Guidelines To Members
Members of the Professional Squash Association have today
been informed that they will no longer be permitted to
compete in any tour event that is not recognised by the PSA
The decision has been made by the PSA Board following the
launch of the US-based Pro Squash Tour.
Following consultations with stakeholders, primarily in the
US, it was felt that the Pro Squash Tour was having an
increasingly detrimental effect on the PSA World Tour's
presence in North America, leading to confusion for
potential promoters and sponsors.
PSA Chairman Ziad Al-Turki said: "The Pro Squash Tour
started life this time last year as a series of exhibition
events which we felt could exist alongside the professional
men's world tour.
"However, following a change of direction from the PST, it
has introduced a ranking system and rebranded as a 'Pro
Tour'. With these recent developments, it is felt that the
PSA needs to protect its own membership and world ranking
events in North America."
In 2010 the PSA is set to report a record tournament
prize-fund in excess of 3.4 million US Dollars. In addition,
the long-established men's player association - which boasts
more than 500 members - has produced live TV coverage from
13 events across nine different countries and streamed over
300 matches on its new online channel Squash TV.
A move which elicited this response from Joe McManus
of the PST ... 16-Oct:
The Pro Squash Tour (PST) regrets that the Professional
Squash Association (PSA) has unilaterally decided to ban its
member players from participating in the Pro Squash Tour. In
so doing, it has singled out the PST while permitting the
PSL, BSPA, ISDA and myriad other tournaments/exhibitions in
the world to go forward.
This action targets the livelihood of the very athletes that
we all admire, emulate and hope will become household names
in the coming years as the game of squash grows in the
The Pro Squash Tour will continue to support the players and
the growth of the game in the face of this unconscionable
attack that violates the Professional Squash Association's
own policy that allows member players to compete in any
tournament that does not take place within seven days or 50
miles of a PSA-sanctioned event.
As most players will max out playing 13 tournaments a year
with the PSA, it is a dangerous precedent for the PSA to
begin restricting how players may make a living during the
other 40 weeks of a year.
Although we hope the Professional Squash Association will
live up to its stated goal of acting with honor and
integrity and lift this ban on athletes who it purports to
represent, the Pro Squash Tour is evaluating how best to
protect the players who have partnered with us to introduce
a new and exciting brand of squash to the United States.
As we do so, we hope the friends and fans we have met during
the past year will continue to support the players and the
game we all love.
More than 150 years old and played by more than 20 million
people in 185 countries, squash has shown sustained growth
in the US in recent years. The US based Pro Squash Tour was
founded in 2009 and coordinates a tour with stops across the
United States. The season begins in September and runs
Following our announcement last week to prohibit players
from playing on rival tours this is a further explanation as
to why this action has been taken by the PSA. It is one that
was taken following lengthy consultations with stakeholders
and was not taken in isolation.
The PSA is a Players' Organisation
PSA is a non-profit organisation that reinvests any return
it makes into the association for the furtherance of squash
worldwide by showcasing the best players and events in the
sport. The PSA seeks to organise and administer a World Tour
on behalf of it is membership, the players, in accordance
with guidelines that protect both them and the promoters and
organisers of PSA registered events.
PSA World Rankings
Playing events on the PSA World Tour enable squash players
to earn world ranking points in order to be placed in the
PSA World Rankings. Reaching the pinnacle of the world
rankings is something that every player aspires to. As well
as winning prestigious titles the main measure of how
successful a professional squash player is, is how high they
climb in the world rankings. World rankings are the crux of
understanding the hierarchy in any sport.
The PSA World Rankings have huge value to every individual
player and to the sport of Squash: PSA must protect these
rankings for its players the sport.
Boxing is a prime example of a sport that has lost its peak
as a leading world sport because it now has 5 organisations
that each have a World Champion (some have the same one) and
own ranking. Who is truly the greatest in this sport today?
Who has the most value?
Squash is too small a sport to divide itself into different
fractions all purporting to be the ‘Professional’ element.
Our sport needs proper governance and support for its
players, promoters and associations and to defend a system
that communicates this coherently to the supporters,
sponsors, media etc..
If any tour is allowed to proceed with PSA players
involvement this would in effect be diminishing the value of
the players’ own Tour and therefore their own value. This
would affect the worth to sponsors (both personal and Tour
sponsors) and income from the sports media partners.
The fact that another tour has started using current world
class PSA players and developing its own ranking system
will, in time, ultimately confuse the real story of
professional squash. This is high-risk for the sport and
will damage the attraction of Squash to sponsors,
international media and more importantly the IOC.
Leagues, Exhibitions & Other Associations
The PSA is well aware that its players need to earn a living
and it is indeed proud that the World Rankings have created
this worth for the individual players. Therefore, we sit
side by side with England Squash and Racketball’s Premier
Squash League, French League, Bundesliga to name but a few
and many Exhibition matches across the globe that promote
the game and further the sports presence.
We are working very hard on expanding the PSA World Tour and
it appears as though this year will be one of the best ever
(approaching $3,450,000 USD in 2010). In the current
economic climate we are delighted with this achievement.
We have had 10 Super Series events in 2010 and is therefore
the strongest series we have ever had. This year’s World
Open is the largest prize money of all time in squash
This year has seen the PSA invest heavily in advancing the
quality and consistency of TV coverage of the sport and in
2010 have already broadcast 8 events through a live World TV
feed. There is an ever growing TV distribution list and one
which, when WSF come to present to the IOC again in 2013, we
hope will compete with other sports. In order to have a
coordinated, quality TV production that holds up across the
globe as ‘Professional Squash’ we cannot allow under par
coverage to represent the sport.
Furthermore PSA works closely alongside WSF, WISPA and many
National Federations with the number one aim of improving
Squash’s image in an ever more competitive market place. As
the pinnacle of the game we are aiming to showcase the
sport to the best of it’s ability.
As an aside, another association that keeps being mentioned
is the British Squash Players’ Association (BSPA).
This series of tournament does indeed register its events
with PSA as closed satellite events and enables the up
and coming players to gain valuable World Ranking points.
I hope this has further clarified the position of the PSA
Board of Directors and its staff that this decision whilst
not being an easy one is the right one for the PSA, its
Membership and its Events and I would hope ultimately
Alex Gough PSA CEO
20-Oct: Open Letter to the
from Joe McManus
This past week, the management of the PSA without warning
announced, effective immediately, that it was banning its
members from playing in PST tournaments.
This blanket ban includes all members of the PSA: world
members, continental members, country members, ratings
members, and junior members. It also does not discriminate
between the world #1 and the world # 'last'.
This ban was, moreover, singular in its focus. Simply
stated, the squash players on the PSA are free to play in
any tournament or event - except for
the U.S. based PST.
Further, the management induced ban, which is in conflict
with its own Tour Guide, was done in complete darkness
without input or a vote from PSA members.
The PSA management's surprise attack on its own members was
shocking in its draconian measures and its immediate change
in policy was beyond thoughtless. It was heartless. Pro
squash players plan their calendars months in advance to
effectively balance world tour tournaments with lessons,
clinics, exhibitions, and other tournaments and league play.
And pro squash players are constantly balancing their check
books. When tournament fees and player levies to the PSA are
honestly accounted for, the total player purse for the world
tour is slightly more than $3 million. Divide that by the
500 players PSA says are members and the average
professional squash player earns roughly $6,000/ year
playing on their tour.
Now subtract, plane flights, meals, hotels, cabs, et al for
The average player on the world tour actually spends more
money playing on the PSA than he earns. He also has to spend
a few hundred dollars in PSA dues before playing a match.
You can quickly see that players need to earn money
On the PST, we pay squash players to play squash. We have no
initiation fees. In fact, our tournaments are open to all -
without restriction. We are designed to give players who are
in the U.S. an opportunity to make money playing squash.
We also professionally manage every event to ensure a
first-rate fan experience. I have personally been on-site
for every night of every tournament. This obviously limits
our growth, but it improves quality. We are focused on
Contrary to the PSA's recent public statements, we do not
rank our players. Rankings on world tours involve a rolling,
12-month weighted, algorithmic average with divisors and
penalties for players in losses.
Nor does the PST affect the PSA world rankings - unless the
PSA chooses to continue penalizing its members for playing
on the U.S. based PST.
We do give players points for winning matches. At the end of
the season, we'll give the top guys a bonus for a job well
done. This may appear to be a semantics debate. The
distinction is important, however.
The PST is 1 year old and very new to this international
game. There are 185 countries that make up the world squash
community. 71 participate in the Commonwealth Games. Of
note, the World Squash Federation, a PSA partner, doesn't
acknowledge our product as being squash. US Squash, the
National Governing body of squash in the United States,
makes no mention of our tournaments anywhere on its website.
(And all of our events are in the U.S.)
Moreover, there is one dominant and regularly updated squash
news site (www.SquashSite.com) in the world. They are not
yet covering our men's event results either. In our entire
history, we have coordinated 7 tournaments.
The notion that our US based tour is a threat to the world
tour strains credulity.
In fact, the management of the PSA has gone to great and
creative length to cleverly craft a reason to pick a fight
If we paid their 10% PSA tax for tournaments to be
"recognized" in London, one expects all would be forgiven.
This ban is merely a case of a bully trying to impose his
will on a smaller, weaker and newer kid on the block.
The great irony is that we are now being forced into the
position of defending pro squash players' and their
individual rights to the very organization that should be
And we will.
We will fight to protect professional squash players' rights
to earn a living in any country and any tournament they
choose to enter. The PSA can end this fight immediately by
lifting this ban.
And I hope they do so.
Joseph M. McManus President, American Pro Squash, Inc. dba PST
On Monday, lawyers representing the US-based Pro Squash Tour
(PST) filed suit in New York state court against the
UK-based Professional Squash Association (PSA) and two other
defendants for allegedly improperly restricting competition
in the United States, including New York State.
The suit is in response to the PSA's unilateral ban on
October 14, 2010, barring its members, under threat of
expulsion, from participating in any PST event. PST is
challenging this anti-competitive ban to protect players'
rights and to defend itself against this egregious move. The
ban's unfairness is clearly illustrated by the fact that the
UK-based management is solely targeting U.S.-based PST
events while allowing its members to participate in any
other league, tournament or exhibition match in the world.
"The management in England singled out our successful and
growing American tour," said PST Commissioner Joseph
McManus. "And they appeared to have made this decision in
darkness without discussing the idea first with their full
The six-count suit includes allegations that the PSA engaged
in improper and anti-competitive conduct by interfering with
PST player agreements and business relationships. The suit
further alleges that the predatory behavior is being
conducted with the specific intent to exclude competition
and achieve monopoly power.
PST Commissioner Joseph M. McManus said he wants the players
to be free to compete, if they so choose. "The irony is that
we are now put in the position of defending players and
their rights against the very organization that should be
protecting them in the first place."
The USA-based Pro Squash Tour said today that it has filed a
lawsuit in a New York state court in response to an
announcement by the Professional Squash Association that PSA
members are being prevented from competing in any event not
recognised by the PSA World Tour, the top men's professional
The PSA's announcement singled out the Pro Squash Tour,
which launched last year, as being at the heart of its
The Pro Squash Tour, referring to the PSA's move as a
"unilateral ban," said in a statement: "PST is challenging
this anti-competitive ban to protect players' rights and to
defend itself against this egregious move. The ban's
unfairness is clearly illustrated by the fact that the
UK-based management is solely targeting US-based PST events
while allowing its members to participate in any other
league, tournament or exhibition match in the world."
The lawsuit also names two other defendants: John Nimick and
his company, Event Engine, promoters of the PSA Tour's
Tournament of Champions in New York.
Joe McManus, commissioner of the Pro Squash Tour, said: "The
management in England singled out our successful and growing
American tour. And they appeared to have made this decision
in darkness without discussing the idea first with their
The Pro Squash Tour statement continued: "The six-count suit
includes allegations that the PSA engaged in improper and
anti-competitive conduct by interfering with PST player
agreements and business relationships. The suit further
alleges that the predatory behaviour is being conducted with
the specific intent to exclude competition and achieve
McManus said: "The irony is that we are now put in the
position of defending players and their rights against the
very organization that should be protecting them in the
However, Alex Gough, the chief executive of the PSA Tour,
today disputed the Pro Squash Tour's description of its move
as a "unilateral ban" on players competing in the rival
series' events, saying: "This is something that we need to
clear up with some of our players. It's not a ban. They have
a choice: they can either play on the PSA Tour or the Pro
Squash Tour. They can go and play in it. It's just that they
can't also play in the PSA Tour."
Gough also questioned whether the New York court would have
jurisdiction over the PSA, given that it is based in the UK.
He said that the PSA is now taking legal advice over the
Asked whether the PSA would fight the case in court, if
required, Gough said: "From where I'm sitting we have no
Gough disputed McManus' assertion that the PSA Tour had not
consulted fully with its players, pointing out that the
decision to impose the restriction on the players was taken
by the association's executive board which, he said, "was
voted in to take decisions on behalf of the membership."
Moreover, he argued, the board had held "key talks with
quite a few players," although it was not practical to
consult every one of the association's 500 players. Since
imposing the restriction, Gough said, "only four complaints
have been voiced to us [by players]."
But Stephen Hornsby, a partner in the sport group at London
law firm Davenport Lyons, told Sportcal that the Pro Squash
Tour's case "seems a valid complaint to me."
He argued that Gough's claim that the restriction on PSA
players is not a ban was "not very convincing. They [the
players] have got to be in major league tours. It's like
saying to a tennis player, you don't need to appear in the
Grand Slams. The PSA Tour have got all the crown jewels."
Hornsby also argued that the US court could "easily" claim
jurisdiction over the case, given that it concerns
tournaments played in USA. He said: "American courts very
seldom decline jurisdiction where there is an impact on USA.
They'll get jurisdiction and give it a fair looking over."
He concluded: "The Pro Squash Tour has a strong case because
there is probably demand for an American tour which is not
being adequately satisfied by the PSA. The PSA is trying to
leverage the position it has outside USA to restrict a new
product or service in USA."
The fledgling Pro Squash Tour expects to comprise "about a
dozen" events this season, which began last month and runs
until April next year.
However, the PSA said in a statement earlier this month that
"it was felt that the Pro Squash Tour was having an
increasingly detrimental effect on the PSA World Tour's
presence in North America, leading to confusion for
potential promoters and sponsors."