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An Open Letter To The European Nations Proposing A Compulsory Change to PAR 11:
Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden

Dear Officials,

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 the sport.

In conversation 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 There was a motion on unification then, proposed by Egypt, but it was withdrawn and not passed.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 from.

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.

Martin Pearse
European O60 Masters Games Champion
Chairman England Squash Masters Committee

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