Friday 8 June 2007

London loses out as Super Series heads north

Spectators outside the court in Broadgate Area, in the heart of the City of LondonIt was fantastic news to hear that the Super Series Finals had been saved, after the ATCO Group stepped in to fund the tournament.

The future of the Super Series had been in doubt after the sponsors had pulled out of this year's tournament.

With the 2007 British Open and the 2008 men's and women's World Opens to be held at the National Squash Centre in Manchester, the north-west is cementing its position as the preferred host for professional events in the UK.

However, for squash fans elsewhere in the country, the lack of options means that a long drive or expensive train fare are part of the package if they want to see the top players in action.

Other than the exemplary Canary Wharf Classic, this means that there will be no professional squash tournaments held in London in 2007.

For the long-term survival of the game in this country, this state of affairs is nothing short of disastrous. With money pouring into tournaments in the Middle East, only the financial muscle of the City can compete to bring the best players and tournaments to this country.

As I discussed in a previous post, it is not as if the money isn't there: the irony is that many of those who play the game most regularly are amongst the highest earners in the country.

Surely a squash-playing banker could be found to plough a relatively tiny proportion of their annual bonus into having an event named in their honour, with the cream of the world's elite squash players lining up?

That's one suggestion. A skilful and well-connected promoter - maybe borrowed from another sport? - would have many more.

I cannot believe that squash's governing bodies have not tried to leverage City money in the past (or indeed continue to do so), though the apparent lack of success suggests that something is not quite right.

Have your say:
Squash and the City

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