Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An Open Letter to the Squash Community, From Joseph McManus, PST's CEO

Okay, I've had my fun with photos, but when you get right down to it, no one's laughing. Joseph M. McManus, the commissioner and CEO of the Pro Squash Tour, has just released an "Open Letter to the Squash Community." Here it is, in its entirety:

Dear Squash Fan,

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 12+ tournaments. 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 elsewhere. 

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 quality. 

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 ( 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 with us. 

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 protecting them. 

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
American Pro Squash, Inc. dba PST


  1. But what do YOU think Squashist from the point of view of an American squash fan and squash media celebrity looking at:
    - PSA's actions, methods
    - dialogue and range of perspectives on WWW
    - PST and PSA's PR campaigns

    Do the players benefit? Does the sport? Sponsors?

    Why oh why do UK based squash administrators always bring up Olympics to rationalize actions, choices?

  2. My feeling is that the PSA reacted because they saw PST as a financial threat. They've couched the terms of their order about PST as if they were concerned about their players, but my feeling is that's bull: they are concerned about their revenue. Ultimately, this parochial attitude further harms the growth of squash. I'm annoyed, and a little surprised.


Sorry, but due to increasing spam, I've added the Word Verification step. My policy on comments is anything goes, as long as it is about squash and as long as it isn't unnecessarily nasty....