Merger should help women gain prize-money parity with the men

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The governing bodies of men’s and women’s squash are to merge in a move that should see the sport take another step towards equality.

A BBC survey this week showed squash to be included in the 30 per cent of sports it looked at where prize money was unequal between the men’s and women’s game.

England’s Laura Massaro won the world title in March, collecting £12,300 compared to the £28,600 picked up by her compatriot Sheffield’s Nick Matthew.

Of the 36 joint events, 22 do already pay equal prize money, and Massaro feels the joining together of the governing bodies will help.

She said: “It will look like we’re trying to work together and present a bit more of a marketable package to sponsors and media.”

A decision on the change, which will see the governance of the sport unified for the first time, was reached on Monday after discussions throughout 2014.

The Professional Squash Association (PSA) and Women’s Squash Association (WSA) will become one body known as the PSA, which will be operational from January 1, 2015.

WSA chief executive Tommy Berden said: “The WSA members are very excited to merge with the men and form one unified governing body for professional squash.

“We have been able to discuss in depth how the merger will benefit our sport and we really feel this is the right time to move things forward for both the men’s and the women’s tour. It’s encouraging to see that more promoters are following the example set by the US Open to pay equal prize money and we are expecting more events to follow suit in the upcoming year.”

Last year, squash was again thwarted in its bid to become an Olympic event and raising the profile of the sport is one of the main goals behind the merger.

PSA chief executive Alex Gough said: “Both parties felt that a merger would provide a more unified base from which to grow the sport across the globe and to proactively increase the levels of equality and opportunity for both genders at the elite level.

“Whilst also driving forward equality, we feel that a unified body will allow us to present a more appealing product to potential sponsors and broadcast partners.”