Squash: Ultimatum on player boycott

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The Independent Online
THE men's event at the English National Championships will be scrapped unless a compromise worked out yesterday by the Squash Rackets Association's chief executive, Chris Gotla, and the England captain, Philip Whitlock, is agreed by the rest of the players threatening a boycott.

They have until 4 January to make up their minds after which a cancellation will take place because disruption over who does intend to play would make a draw 'farcical', according to yesterday's SRA press statement.

This also claims that 'pressure is being put on the players by an unknown source to continue their boycott' - although it is well-known many of them have been upset about a range of issues for some time. The rebels now appear to be divided, with perhaps four of the top 10 (including, according to the SRA, the British national champion Peter Marshall) supporting the new plan.

This includes an agreement by the SRA to drop England selection criteria this year in return for a players' commitment to support future national championships with an agreed minimum prize fund. At the moment selection is dependent on participation in the nationals, which means there is a risk of England being without a team worth the name for next year's world championship.

The original demands from the top 20 players included higher prize-money and a return to the title of British National Championships. Now the stakes may be higher. 'Philip (Whitlock) and I . . . agreed that the future of not only the national championships but the whole professional game in this country was at stake,' Gotla said.

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