Monday, January 24, 2011

PST: From One Court To Another

Working on the theory that a lawsuit against the PSA would just enrich the lawyers, the Pro Squash Tour's Joe McManus recently announced that he was dropping his suit and would concentrate his efforts on the court of squash rather than the court of law. I asked him a couple of questions:

1. Where does this decision leave the original points of contention? For instance, the PSA did not like the fact that you ranked your players. Will that continue?
"In October 2010, the PSA banned their members from playing PST tournaments. After three months of negotiation, we came to the conclusion that an agreement wasn’t possible. To win the lawsuit would have taken as long as two years and over $100,000. We decided to spend the money on players instead of legal fees and withdrew the court case.
Regrettably, the ban forced us to defend ourselves and compete against the PSA. Before the ban, we viewed the association as a friendly group who shared our interest in growing the fan base for pro squash. Now their public and private actions have created a divide.
PSA is run by ex-PSA players. But their recent decisions are hurting the ability of current players to earn more money playing squash. In the fullness of time, this moment will be viewed as a stain on the PSA’s history. We continue to call on PSA to lift this ban. PSA changes leadership frequently enough. Maybe, the next group will be more thoughtful."
2. Is the PSA continuing to ban players who play in the PST, as they announced back in October? 
"PSA isn’t telling its players what the punishment is for competing in our tournaments.
Ned Marks, a PSA member, played in our Connecticut Open. PSA suspended him for a month as a result and pulled his entry from the Tournament of Champions. No one is truly sure if that should be viewed as a precedent-setting moment. They don’t really value transparency in their operations.
Our next tournament is the Westchester Open. There are 16 players registered. 6 of them were PSA members as of December. We have 3 players registered for February’s Baltimore tournament who were listed as PSA members in December. PSA is going to lose a lot of membership dues if they continue with this ill-conceived ban.
PST does not charge players to compete in our events. Our players are professionals who earn money competing in our tournaments."
3. In what ways has the PST changed so that the court case is no longer an issue for the PSA? 
"Pro Squash Tour is unchanged, except that we continue to grow."
4. I'm assuming your competitions will continue to be no-let matches, is that right?
"Absolutely. Once you’ve see what the pros can do without the hindrance of a let, you don’t want to go back to the old style of play."
5. You also announced a $100,000 signing bonus for a top-ten player from the PSA to jump ship and play the PST. Any bites? An excellent blog at, proposes that Thierry Lincou might go for it. 
"I have spoken to four players. Each asked for confidentiality. For the moment, I need to leave it at that. Brett wrote a very fair and thoughtful piece. He’s a good guy who loves the game. Squash has the benefit of having some very reasoned bloggers. 
Regarding Thierry Lincou. He is a professional’s professional. If you need him to be somewhere at 3:00, he arrives at 2:55.  He is more reliable than a sundial. He also plays the game in the manner it was intended to be played, and he is one of the best players in the world. I believe he could win another World Open or World Series. However, if he chooses to join PST, we would enthusiastically welcome him as the face of our tour. 
We intend to make the person who accepts our offer the most famous squash player in the world’s largest market." 
6. You announced that you are also starting an apparently separate entity called Premier Squash Tour. Is that correct, or will the Pro Squash Tour become the Premier? Can you give any specifics on how you see this new Tour developing? 
"Premier Squash will provide exclusive squash experiences tailored to the desires of the host. We do not anticipate publicizing these events and will do a select few of these each year."


  1. I think the PSA has actually handled this in a much more professional manner than Joe has on behalf of his PST. The PSA actually kept all their membership updated on the current status of the dispute (of which i am one), they just didnt release things pulicly and turn it into a slanging much which is the way things came across from PST. The PSA's AGM was also held in December, after this dispute had arose, at which all players are entitled to raise issues and vote, this issue was overlooked and not a major concern for players. I am actually for this whole tour if its run the right way, but i think Joe needs to perhaps stop thinking he is speaking on behalf of all players. I'm tired of reading interview after article after press release condemning the PSA and shouting the praises of PST, without a voice of reason from the other side

  2. I personally like what Joe is doing for the game of squash. Contrary to what the previous commentator has said, I think Joe Mr. McManus has been quite considerate of the game and all its players. If the PSA had done its job over the last decades, squash would certainly have the fan base that is closer to that of tennis, poker or even beach volleyball. I hope the PSA takes this as a wake up call that the game needs new blood and ideas... ones that eventually lead to being an Olympic sport. Go Joe...GO!!!

  3. As the strongest squash leagues are in all over Europe & specially in England & Egypt but in Egypt it more of local tournaments than leagues, so if these places are developing strong quality of squash and squash players all over the world is participating off PSA calender, we hope that PST will do the same as PSL in England and stop the nonsense and just support what PSA and give the respect of what they being doing for the last decade for this game.

  4. If players all over the world are "participating off PSA calendar," then the world is making its choice. Good to hear regional leagues are growing in Europe and Egypt.

    PSA is quickly going to become the equivalent of the European Tour in golf.

  5. First time I have come on this site and its good to see another contributer to the world of squash - we need more.

    Having said that I am disappointed that you let Joe get away with totally avoiding answering the first question. Maybe it was because it was an e-mail interview, but hopefully all other inteviews actually get answers to the questions which we all want posed.

    As far as the debate goes, I can see what Joe is trying to do and if he, or anyone else feels they can do a better job of promoting the sport I say, well done in principal. However, I do have a fundamental problem with no-lets, the problem isn't lets per se, but the failure of referees to apply the rules properly.

    I do think care needs to be taken in criticising the PSA because the new structures haven't been in place very long and it does take time to turn things around. The recent Super Series was shaping up to be a great success in terms of PR and image (until the weather intervened) and was a radical and, in my humble opinion, brave departure from what had gone before.

    I also think the PSA has a right, if not a duty, to protect it's product for it's members and for me it's good to see a PSA member stating that they felt well-informed.

    Let's hope, for the good of squash, we don't go down the boxing or darts route with different governing bodies and no one really knowing who the best in the world is etc.

  6. Not sure why the PST would be at odds or instigate the PSA. PST needs the PSA more much more than the PSA needs the PST. I think this confilict garnered some much needed publicity for the PST whose attendence at the matches is anything but encouraging. Get back to squash, there's never been room for bravado. If anyone remembers the grand prix tour years back, the PST should model itself on that it brought some really up and coming pros (15/16 year old Peter Nicol) to the US to face top pros. There was some money, but mostly, it promotes professional squash here in the US of which there are only 3 full time touring members. I'd like to see the PST 100k signing bonus go to supporting 3 top US prospects in training overseas. I love Tiery Linceau and have seen him play, done clinics with him, but do I want to see him compete on the PST, not really I'd rather see a top 40 PST player, young and hungry compete and beat up on our guys. That's good for squash and good for US squash! And if David Palmer (he's the one I think who will retire with 100k into PST Miami retirement), then so be it, but I wouldn't be interested in seeing him, I've seen him at his peak and when he was up and coming in the PSA, much more enjoyable to see him then rather than now. Where do aging squash warriors go? Hopefully, into coaching and clinics and exhibition matches and not to the PST.

  7. Hard to tell, but looks like Americans like PST. Non-Americans, maybe not. 'course, if you're not in the U.S., maybe you're talking about something you've never seen.

  8. PST is innovation, marketing, new and more fans.

  9. my biggest problem with this whole thing is that every PR, article etc is Joe McManus talking about Joe McManus. The PST is obviously a one man band with a big ego. I think people will be intelligent enough to see through this guy

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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....