London: The Professional Squash Association (PSA) and Women's Squash Association (WSA) are set to join forces in an historic merger that will see the sport run by one unified governing body for the first time ever.
Following a lengthy consultation process involving the sport's major stakeholders over the past ten months, which included inviting both memberships of the PSA and WSA to vote on the proposed merger, a decision was reached on October 28 that will see the PSA operate as the governing body for both the women's and men's ranks from January 1, 2015.
Continuing to operate under the existing PSA name, the re-formed organisation will be responsible for running the men's and women's professional game with the strategic aims of increasing the level of equality and parity in prize money and playing opportunities across the professional game.
"We have been in discussion with the WSA since the beginning of 2014 regarding a potential merger between the two associations," said PSA chief executive Alex Gough.
"Both parties felt that a merger would provide a more unified base from which to grow the sport of squash across the globe and to proactively increase the levels of equality and opportunity for both genders at the elite level.
"We are committed to driving the sport forward and have long-term plans in place to achieve parity in prize-money across the sport and ensure that equal opportunities are available for both male and female squash players.
"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 and we look forward to undertaking the new challenge when the cross-over period is completed in what will be an exciting new era for the sport," said Gough.
As a result of the merger the WSA will now begin a wind-down process, set to be completed by December 31st 2014, when squash will usher in an exciting new era of joint-responsibility and unified governance.
With the US Open leading the way in driving the equality-agenda within the sport, having moved to a position of offering equal prize money for the first time in 2013, the long-term aims of the PSA will be to increase the overall level of prize money available in squash and narrow the gap between genders.