Following a number of misleading press releases by the Pro Squash Tour, the Professional Squash Association wish to set out their position with regards to the dispute that currently exists between the PSA and the PST. The PSA wanted there to be a dignified silence regarding the dispute, whilst the parties discussed matters, but unfortunately that is no longer possible.
The Pro Squash Tour started as a series of exhibition matches approximately 18 months ago. It was originally branded as the US Pro Squash Tour but, as a result of conflict with US Squash, re-branded as the Pro Squash Tour. The Tour progressed and started to provide ranking points for their events. A clear conflict then existed between the PSA and the PST. This conflict does not exist with other leagues, doubles, or exhibition events.
Notwithstanding that only a few PSA members played the PST, the Board instructed their CEO to meet with a representative of the PST during the US Open in Chicago in October to express our concern about the direction that the PST were taking. A Director of the PSA also attended an event run by the PST. As a result of the above, the Board unanimously voted to amend the Tour Guide to reflect the conflict of interest that existed.
The PST is a commercial organisation, running events in order to make a profit. The PSA is a member-owned Association whose Board members receive no salary - and any profit made from the Tour is put back into the Tour. The members vote the Board members into position and have the power to remove them. The Board are empowered by the Articles of Association to act in the best interests of the members. The members can vote to amend any decision made by the Board at an AGM. An Annual General Meeting was convened last week at the World Open in Saudi Arabia. No motion was suggested by any member to change the decision made by the Board of Directors with regards to the conflict of interest that existed with the PST.
The PST instructed lawyers who issued draft proceedings out of New York in late October. The first paragraph of that summons reads "on the 14th October 2010, by an imperial edict harkening back to the times when England tried to impose unreasonable control and taxes on the American colonies, the United Kingdom based PSA banned its players from playing in any US-based PST squash tournaments". It is worthy of note that the PSA, whilst based in Wales, not England, represents 510 members from 66 nations. Their Directors are based in the United States, France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and England.
Within one day of the receipt of the draft summons, the PSA authorised its Director Richard Bramall and the CEO Alex Gough to meet with the PST and their Lawyer. They did so by telephone conference on the 29th October. On that telephone call, the PSA defended their legal right to advise their members how they conduct themselves whilst they are members of the PSA. The PSA also made offers of compromise in respect of two areas of conflict that existed. Three weeks later a response was received from the Lawyers who represented the PST agreeing to some proposals, made but not others. Within one day, further suggestions were made by the PSA to compromise the remaining issue. Ten Days later a response was received that compromise was not possible. Two further offers were made by the PSA, both of which were rejected.
The PSA entirely refute the suggestion that the PST have had a "wall of silence" to their complaint or indeed that the PST have driven the suggested compromise. That is simply untrue. Were it not for the legal privilege that exists for negotiated correspondence, the PSA would gladly publish the exchanges between the parties. It is simply incorrect to suggest that the PSA want the PST to cease to exist. This is an over dramatic response to a simple suggestion in respect of the final area of dispute that exists between the parties.
This dispute can be settled quickly and amicably: It is in the PST's hands, not the PSA's. The PSA have been extremely frustrated that it has taken the PST from the third week in October until now to deal with matters. The PSA calls for the parties involved with the PST to consider the good of the game and compromise. The PSA believe that further debate could take place on the issue, but it is clear that "the line in the sand", as it has been called, is in fact the PST's and not the PSA's.
The PSA work in conjunction with the WSF (World Squash Federation) and WISPA (Women's International Squash Players' Association), together with the National Federations. In their 20-year history, the PSA have not been in the position they find themselves in now with these proceedings.