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PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough

Message from the CEO: February PSA Update

Dear squash fans, I hope you are staying safe during these difficult times. I wanted to update you all on a range of activities that are going on across multiple departments of the PSA to give you an insight on the work that is being done to return the PSA Tour to a ‘normal calendar’ and also to engage with our fans during this relatively quiet period. January has proved a difficult month in terms of putting on tournaments. The COVID-19 situation in a number of countries across the world has regressed, meaning that strict government restrictions have resulted in some tournaments cancelling or postponing. The US tournaments specifically have been severely affected due to the pandemic and the travel ban imposed by newly elected president, Joe Biden. The tour team is in constant touch with tournament promoters to ensure the safe delivery of tournaments wherever government restrictions allow. Tournaments are taking a different form at the moment, with a combination of domestic, cross-border and reduced prize money events all taking place throughout the coming months. In February, I am pleased to say that we currently have 13 Challenger Tour events scheduled in nine countries, which is up from four events in January. There are also 12 Satellite Tour events registered, which is an increase of four compared to last month. Efforts to stage a World Tour event in March are ongoing and I expect that we will be able to announce this and the definite dates in the next few days. Away from the PSA Tour, I’m sure you’ve seen the unfortunate news that the 2020 WSF Women’s World Team Squash Championship, which was scheduled for December 2020 in Malaysia, has now been cancelled due to ongoing complications resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The next women’s team event will be held in December 2022, while the WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championship is still scheduled to go ahead as planned in December of this year, in New Zealand. As I’m sure you have seen, we recently launched a new series called Challenger Chats across the social media pages of the Challenger Tour as well as on SQUASHTV. Hosted by Lisa Aitken and featuring a different player each week, the series aims to shine a light on the players competing on the Challenger Tour and gives them the chance to tell their stories as we look to find out what makes them tick. The first episode - featuring Robert Downer - was released a fortnight ago, while we released our second episode with Nilo Vidal last Friday. I’d like to thank Lisa for her assistance in putting these videos together and would also like to commend Robert and Nilo for their candidness. Our digital team will be producing more episodes over the coming weeks and, if you would like to be involved, please get in touch with the office. This year marks the first time since 1998 that we have been unable to stage the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, so we spent some time over the past month reliving some of the greatest ever matches ever to take place in Grand Central over on our Facebook page in the form of our popular ‘PSA Rewind’ series in order to keep fans engaged. A special 2021 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions virtual event, featuring three decades of legendary ToC champions, will be streamed as a free Facebook Live event on February 19th via the PSA World Tour and Tournament of Champions pages. We’ve been working hard to keep our players front and centre on our digital channels. The likes of Tinne Gilis and Olivia Clyne have held Instagram takeovers and Facebook Live Q&A sessions, respectively, while Mohamed ElShorbagy and Ali Farag relived their Canary Wharf final battle in our 'On the Mic' series. We’ve also published in-depth interviews with players such as Sabrina Sobhy, Sarah-Jane Perry and Fares Dessouky over the past few weeks - with plenty more to follow this month. We are preparing for another round of applications for the We Are One fund in the coming week and I would like to thank everyone for their donations. The We Are One fund offers support for professional squash players who are experiencing both financial and emotional difficulties due to the impact of COVID-19, so your donations have been invaluable. For further updates on the PSA, please keep an eye on our website and social media pages - in the meantime, I hope you and your loved ones all keep safe in these trying times. Best Regards, Alex Gough PSA Chief Executive