World's best squash players heading to Dubai
The world’s best squash players will be heading to Dubai after the Professional Squash Association (PSA) — the international governing body for the sport — on Wednesday announced that the season-ending World Series Finals will be staged in the emirate for the next three years.
Under the official name of 'PSA Dubai World Series Finals’, the 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 competitions will all take place here after an agreement was reached between the PSA and Dubai Sports Council, facilitated by Falcon and Associates.
In order to compete at the season-ending event, men’s and women’s players will have to rank in their respective top eight on the 'SA Road To Dubai Standings’, with ranking points accumulated at every PSA World Series tournament — with details of the confirmed 2015/16 PSA World Series schedule to be finalised later this week.
With many of the sport’s high-ranking players hailing from the Middle East, the PSA Dubai World Series Finals will build on the already strong regional presence and popularity of squash.
Saeed Hareb, Secretary-General of the Dubai Sports Council, said: “Hosting the PSA Word Series Finals in Dubai is an opportunity for us to create further awareness of the prestigious game in this part of the world.
“Staging this event next year strengthens the UAE’s position in general, and Dubai’s position specifically, as a leading sports destination in the world, as we add squash to our already impressive and diverse sports portfolio. We are confident that this event will help raise the profile of the professional game and boost its popularity in Dubai, the UAE and across the region.”
PSA chief executive Alex Gough added: “We are delighted that an agreement has been reached that will see the Word Series Finals take place in Dubai for the next three years in what is a very positive move for the tournament and the sport.
“The World Series Finals is an iconic tournament within the squash calendar and one of the most lucrative events on the tour. We are committed to growing the tournament over the next few years and feel that having the event securely positioned in a world class destination such as Dubai will help us achieve our goals.”
PSA chairman Ziad Al Turki, who successfully ran the tournament for a four-year stint at London’s Queens Club until 2012, has also returned to the event in an advisory capacity and will be re-introducing the Z-court — the iconic and futuristic-looking coloured glass show court.
“It was with pleasure that I took on the custodian’s role of running the World Series Finals in 2007 in a move that I felt would allow the PSA to build their off-court presence without the distractions associated with staging a high-profile event,” Al Turki said.
“The tour is now in a much stronger position, both financially and administratively, than when I first got involved and it has been reassuring to see the PSA grow significantly as an association during that time. Securing a three-year agreement for the World Series Finals will allow the PSA to create a lasting legacy in Dubai, which can only be of benefit to squash as a sport.”