If you haven't heard of their latest act of treachery, let me put it briefly. John Nimick, the former PSA chief executive, has, since leaving the post, worked diligently in putting together a trio of tournaments: the US Open, the YMG Classic in Toronto and the great Tournament of Champions in New York.
You would think, surely, that the PSA board of directors and all PSA members would value his work and give him all their support.
Sadly the board of directors - whom I shall name later - have gone in the opposite direction and , well, to put it in the vernacular, screwed him good and proper. He had the Boston Symphony Hall booked in September for the US Open, a wonderful new venue to take the US Open up to a new level. (You may remember he had it booked last year before the ghastly events of 9/11 forced him to cancel the date). John Nimick had paid PSA the registration fee of $1,900 and the event was on the calendar.
Then came along the French Squash Federation, who, after a lot of good work by WISPA's Andrew Shelley, decided to resurrect the French Open. The venue they chose in Juan-les-Pins in southern France was only available on the same date as the US Open. At this point you would expect PSA to say 'Sorry' let's wait until next year - we already have an event for that date.' Did they?
Did they hell.
They took the French registration fee and so now we have a French Open, a Super Series, event on exactly the same date as the US Open. How's that for meticulous planning folks?
Now you can have a Super Series event by putting up just $60,000 in prize money, which the French did - just $12,000 more than the US Open.
When asked for an explanation for the PSA's action, their chief executive (executioner?) Gawain Briars splutters: " The US Open is not a Super Series event, so their dates are not protected." Then why did he accept Nimick's $1,900 ? What did Nimick get for his money other than a registration? This is not the first time the present PSA administration has taken the money and ran. You may remember they granted the Melbourne Squash Festival the 2001 Men's World Open. When an entrepreneur from India came along and offered a deal for the next five years, they took the Open away from Melbourne and gave it to him. (He never paid the PSA one rupee for the rights).
To pacify the Melbourne promoters, the WSF came up with a sort of Men's world championship to take its place. A month before the event Fablon said they could only come up with half the promised prize money.
The PSA immediately told its members not to participate, the members obeyed and Melbourne cancelled the event. The Melbourne promoters then asked the PSA for their $5,000 registration fee to be returned. The PSA refused, which is why Mike Corby, a vice-president of the WSF, thinks so lowly of them. So Melbourne got screwed not once, but twice, by the PSA.
It should also be pointed out, that the Indian promoter has yet to stage one World Open, cancelling the one scheduled for last December "because of the effects of 9/11". Strangely, no sponsor had been found and the $150,000 prize money had never been raised.
It should also be remembered that last year Nimick had to change the date of the YMG Classic in Toronto because the PSA decided to hold the qualifying (qualifying!) rounds of the never-to-be played World Open in Cardiff on those dates, the first time that I can remember qualifying rounds of a tournament being held in a different country than the event.
And two weeks prior . Think about it.
One board member told Nimick that the French Open treachery had been "an agonizing decision."
I can't see why; the PSA must be used to screwing promoters by now.
Nimick was told it was nothing personal; hard to believe after what they did to him last November and now with the US Open dates. The fact is that Nimick runs his three tournaments as he wants to and doesn't use -and will never use - Robert Edwards (a PSA director)- as his "presenter." Maybe if he did, the PSA would have acted differently towards him.
But back to the US Open.
Why should the PSA have acted differently in the clash of dates?
Firstly they should have had a great deal of sympathy for what Nimick went through last year: he cancelled the Boston Symphony Hall and every cent spent on preparations was lost. He bravely put the US Open on last January in the Sheraton Ballroom but could not make up the large chunk of money lost in September. They also forced him to put back his Toronto tournament. When the board were considering the French Open clash of dates, did they not consider these factors, as well as the debt they owe to John Nimick, one of their main partners? Could they not have said to French "Welcome aboard. Why don't you put up less prize money this year, highlight all your great French players and next year we will give you a date without clashes so you get all the top players." ?
As you may have guessed by now I am absolutely appalled at the PSA's action. It is unethical, unprofessional and cynical. I am not alone in this condemnation: I have spoken to administrators and others close to the sport who are just as aghast at this short-sighted, grab-the-money, attitude. Who are the PSA board of directors?
JACK HERRICK. The chairman,
an American brought on to the board by Nimick when he was chief exec of
Were they all present at the vote? Was it a unanimous decision or split? Are they all happy to take the moral responsibility for that piece of double dealing? Will anybody resign because of it ? Would they all like to respond to the above and make their views known on Squashtalk? Don't bet on it. We now all know the wretched ethical standards of the board of the PSA.
ITS IN THE PLAYERS HANDS
Jonathon Power has said he will play in Boston but Nimick won't know who else until the entry closes at the end of July.
I hope the players will react to this decision in the same way as they did to the Irish fiddle.
The split was not friendly, I am sad to say. One of they main features offered by the WSPA would be a true world ranking, one based on all tournaments, national championships, league and world championships. Right now both the PSA and WISPA claim their rankings as 'world' lists when in fact they only take into account their own tournaments. Most of the top players play each other in many European leagues which are now more plentiful than tournaments. It seems logical to take these results into account. It would stop some of the players from turning up, putting in no effort, taking their money and going home. If they knew ranking points were at stake, they could well give the league and team sponsors their money's worth. When the WSF wanted to talk to the PSA about taking world championship results into the computer mix for their 'world' rankings, the were rebuffed by the PSA. Didn't even want to discuss it.
WELL TED, NOT QUITE THE BIGGEST
DOUBLES IN SIZE
What's to be done? I haven't the foggiest idea. But the latest PSA action won't help the cause of the singles tour!