Squash: SRA tries again to avert boycott

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A THREATENED players' boycott of next month's English National Championships may be called off, if an initiative being made by the Squash Rackets Association has the desired effect.

The SRA has extended the closing date for entries by another week to permit time for negotiations. This is the second extension that has been allowed, as the SRA had already allowed three extra days for entries over the weekend.

Eight leading players (Peter Marshall, Del Harris, Chris Walker, Jason Nicolle, Phil Whitlock, Simon Parke, Tony Hands and Stephen Meads) are demanding an increase in the pounds 10,000 prize money, and a reversion of the title to British National Championships. Those who decide against playing will be ineligible to represent their country in next year's world championships, in which England's medal hopes are high.

Eight years ago, when there was also a threatened boycott, the SRA spoke to individual sponors, who helped to persuade players to participate. The SRA, which has agreed to fund this year's nationals from its own resources in the absence of a sponsor, may try the same tactic again.

'We have extended the closing date to 21 December because communication is still going on,' Chris Gotla, the SRA's chief executive, said. 'It would be disappointing if they don't play. We hope they will but, of course, our conditions cannot be changed.'