Ian McKenzie's Open Letter

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An Open Letter to the President of the

Jahangir Khan

We have admired you as a player, as an ambassador and as a leader in our sport. We know you have served it courageously, selflessly and intelligently. Your time as president of the World Squash Federation (WSF) is coming to an end and we write to request you to perform one last great service to your sport – withdraw the motion that will compel all players to move to a scoring system most of them do not want.

To force this motion through, to compel all players to move to PAR to 11, will not unify our sport. It will divide it.

We already have PAR (to 9 and 15) officially in the rules (in Appendix 7). We believe that PAR to 11 should be included immediately but not be compulsory for all. The ‘win by two principle’ at 8, 10 or 14 also needs to be included, at least as an alternative to ‘setting’.

We believe that standard ‘hand-in, hand-out’ scoring to nine should be maintained as the standard scoring system of the sport. It has a beautiful balance between shots and tactics, speed and endurance and players can fight right to the end. This we believe is one of the fundamental ingredients of our game, one that makes it a great competitive sport. It is also the system that players generally wish to play.

The men’s Professional Squash Association (PSA) introduced PAR to 11 for reasons that applied specifically to the professional game. And the Women’s International Squash Association did exactly the same thing. It was not argued nor intended that this be imposed as a means of compulsory ‘unification’.

We are unconvinced by the various arguments proposed for universal PAR to 11:

  • Hand-in, hand-out scoring is not a difficult system to understand.

  • The recommendations of the Working Group have reportedly been corrupted by ‘political interference’ – to the shame of our sport.

  • The justification claimed for a uniform scoring system is weak.

  • The so-called ‘I can do that’ effect of players wanting to play the same scoring system as the top players has not occurred and is irrelevant.

  • Players and organisations have for some time had the option to use PAR scoring; in general they have chosen not to take it.

Compelling all players to use PAR to 11 will not unify the sport. All that will be achieved is that more competition will happen outside the auspices of the WSF ‘rules’. This will be to the detriment of our sport.


Ian McKenzie
Editor, The Squash Player magazine


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