PSA SANCTION EVENTS IN PAKISTAN

The CNS International (a $25,000 event in Karachi) will go ahead as originally intended and the Pakistan Open (Islamabad) will be staged as a $30,000 3-star 16-draw event.
 
“The decision to proceed with the two Pakistan events was not taken lightly, and was a result of a number of conversations that have taken place between the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) and the Directors, Executives and the Players of the PSA,” explained PSA CEO Richard Graham.
 
“We are clear in our commitment to player security above all other considerations - and have advised all players to heed the warnings of their own government agencies, embassies and insurance companies pertaining to travel to Pakistan,” Graham added.
 
The PSA has also advised all its players that they are not obliged, nor recommended, by the PSA to travel to the events, but the PSA will not stand in the way of those who wish to do so.
 
“The PSF made it clear to us that it wished to host the events, whether or not overseas players attended,” Graham continued.  “The PSF explained to us in great detail the significant measures which they had planned to ensure the security of all players and officials visiting the events.  As the PSF falls under the auspices of the military authorities, the security measures outlined are of an unprecedented high level.
 
“The PSF made an impassioned plea to the PSA to support the staging of the events in 2008 as a means of supporting the squash playing population of Pakistan - for whom the sport is a rare distraction from the problems that the country is facing.”
 
The PSA is aware of the popularity and status that squash has enjoyed in Pakistan over many years, but felt it was imprudent to sanction a Super Series event as the Pakistan Open was originally intended to be. 
 
It was mutually agreed that the profile of the event would be substantially lowered, as would the draw, prize money and ranking points associated with the Pakistan Open in 2008.
 
The PSA also advised the PSF that it would closely monitor security reports going forwards and would consider these in any future decision pertaining to the sanctioning of events in Pakistan.
 
For further information:  Howard Harding, PSA World Media Consultant

Despite the current political troubles in Pakistan, the Professional Squash Association (PSA) has agreed to continue to sanction two proposed PSA Tour events scheduled to take place in Islamabad and Karachi during November 2008.