UNITY OR DISUNITY?
An Open Letter To
The European Nations Proposing A Compulsory Change to PAR 11:
Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden
As the European
Masters Games 60+ Champion and Chairman of the England Squash Masters
Committee, I need to report to you the depth of feeling against a compulsory
change to PAR 11 amongst Masters players in England. Our internal survey is
running at 4 to 1 against the proposed change.
Masters is a large
part of our sport overall. In England half of squash players are Masters
players (we have five Masters World Champions and five runners-up for World
titles). Squash is a fantastic game you can play all your life – and for us
the scoring system is an integral part of our battles. A compulsory change
of scoring, an imposition, will be bitterly resented and it will not unify
with individual Masters players all over the world the vast majority are
totally against PAR scoring and unfortunately for them they do not have a
dedicated Masters section to speak on their behalf as we have in England.
In essence what may be suitable for
professional-level play is not suitable for Masters. We feel that an imposed
change will devalue our sport.
If players or tournament organizers wish to
use PAR, there is nothing to stop them. It has been in the rules for years
(to both 15 and 9 – and certainly 11 should be added). But generally players
have chosen not to use it. In some countries it has actually been used and
discarded after complaints.
So why is it felt
imperative to compel everyone to move to PAR 11?
If we look at the WSF motion we see the
so-called justification for unification goes back to the 2005 AGM. There was
a motion on unification then, proposed by Egypt, but it was withdrawn and
not passed. Since then the issue has hardly appeared, certainly not in the
Federation’s Strategic Plan or the 2007 AGM minutes. We therefore find it
hard to see where the ‘overwhelming justification’ for this compulsion comes
Now that WISPA has moved to PAR 11 we have
unification at the top of the sport, which solves our alleged ‘Olympic
issue’ problem – I was informed by my old friend Gawain Briars, former CEO
of the PSA, that the scoring system will be in no way connected as to
whether we become an Olympic Sport or not. No further ‘unification’ is
required. Other sports allow variation in their scoring systems – tennis,
badminton and table tennis all do, and they are Olympic sports. We will not
get special ‘gold stars’ from the IOC for forcing our players to play a
scoring system that is inappropriate for them and that they do not want.
So why not use the most appropriate system
for players? In the end it is the players, not officials, who are the best
to decide what is best for them.
The danger in
trying to force a compulsory unification where there is no consensus is you
will bring disunity to the sport. The PSA, WISPA and European Squash are
operating outside the WSF umbrella at the moment. There is no guarantee that
other bodies will not do the same by refusing to follow this proposed
dictate – diminishing the WSF’s authority even further.
If your proposal is forced through, our sport
will definitely lose players where PAR rules are imposed on them. The
reduced time element on court alone (a massive 33%) will be a major
contributory factor, as we proved in the recent East of England
Championships (which where marked for both PAR 11 and traditional scoring).
Masters will not travel, at vast expense, to find themselves on court for
only a few minutes if they play PARS. Paradoxically, traditional-scoring
competitions will continue to take place, but outside the jurisdiction of
the WSF rules. You must be clear that this will be a consequence even if
unforeseen at the time you originally proposed the motion.
We therefore ask
you wholeheartedly to revise the motion to impose PAR to 11 on the sport as
a whole and, instead, retain traditional scoring and press for PAR to 11 to
be allowed as an optional scoring system along with PAR to 9 and PAR to 15.
European O60 Masters Games Champion
Chairman England Squash Masters Committee