Open Moves North Again
The British Open, which in the past six years has moved from London to Aberdeen, Scotland, to London and then to Nottingham now moves to the Northwest of England - to Manchester. So instead of hailing the grand return of the famous tournament to the nerve center of England, squash fans will instead need to travel north to the current squash hub of England, the home of English squash stars Willstrop and Beachill.
Sponsors have not been announced, but Paul Walters, who has secured the promotion rights, has established long-term relationships with Monkhouse Sports ("Squash Discount"), Hi-Tec, Dunlop, and the City of Manchester.
Within a day of the previous promoters relinquishing their rights to the event, England Squash have concluded a pioneering new agreement with sports management company iSPORTmarketing which will lead to the 2005 British Open Squash Championships being staged in October in Manchester.
"After it seemed almost certain that the sport's most famous event might have to be postponed this year, we are absolutely delighted to have come to this agreement with iSPORTmarketing to take the event forward at a significant level," said England Squash Chair Jackie Robinson.
"Much work has gone into securing the Championships over the past few months, so we are thrilled with this most positive outcome – and look forward to working closely with Paul Walters and his new team to inject new lifeblood into these world-renowned championships."
The 2005 British Open will be held at the National Squash Centre in Sportcity, Manchester – home of the British National Championships and the 2002 Commonwealth Games – from 9-17 October.
Paul Walters, who formed iSPORTmarketing in January 2004, is determined to restore the British Open to its rightful position as the world’s most prestigious squash championships.
"Sponsors and levels of prize fund will be announced over the next few days, but I can assure everyone that that the 2005 British Open will feature top level men's PSA and women's WISPA events, which will attract the world's very best players,” said Walters.
"iSPORTmarketing are committed to working in partnership with England Squash together with the three international governing bodies, the WSF, PSA and WISPA, in preparing a solid framework for the future of the British Open which will see the tournament continue as the most prestigious squash championships in the world.”
"My links with players, and especially with my partner Sarah Fitz-Gerald, the five-times world champion, mean that I know how important the British Open is to the players – and it's imperative that we strengthen that association.
"I am determined to make this new era for the British Open a huge success – and I am delighted to be working towards this end with England Squash, with whom I share a new vision for the event," added Walters.
iSPORTmarketing will also stage the full programme of British Open Masters events.
paying tribute to John Beddington and John Nimick, promoters of the
British Open for the past two years, Jackie Robinson said: "We
are indebted to both Johns for staging the Open for the past two years
in Nottingham, and wish them well in the future."
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