Mostafa Asal receives 12-week suspension from PSA World Tour

August 03 2023

In the realm of squash, Mostafa Asal's journey has been marked by a series of comebacks following bans, driven by a sense of injustice and the desire to reclaim his dominant position in the PSA World Rankings. Yet, with an unprecedented third ban raising concerns, one must ponder when this unique case of self-inflicted setbacks will leave lasting scars.

While the squash season commences with the PSA Windsor Squash Cup in Canada, attention is poised to shift towards France, where the sport's luminaries will converge for the inaugural PSA Platinum event at the Esplanade Palais De Tokyo. However, a conspicuous absence will be felt with Asal, confined to Egypt due to the ramifications of his latest 12-week suspension.

At a mere 22 years old, 'The Raging Bull' has amassed a notable rap sheet, with three separate bans sidelining him for a total of 26 weeks over the last 18 months.

A unanimous perspective shared by seasoned players is that this recurrent pattern must cease, as it serves neither Mostafa nor the sport of squash well. While his counterparts prepare to battle it out in the French capital, Asal will be honing his skills under the guidance of his new coach, Mohamed Elkeiy. Yet, one must question the nature of his training focus.

Asal's season won't commence until October, by which time his competitors will have participated in events across Paris, Qatar, and the United States. The significant amount of missed competitive match time casts a shadow over his return.

This absence of playing time is reminiscent of the scenario in football, where teams often attribute continental failures to the fact that opponents have more matches under their belt while their own season has just commenced.

David Palmer has candidly pointed out that Asal will have missed a total of 18 weeks on the PSA World Tour this year by the time he resumes play in Autumn. This prolonged absence suggests that it may take a considerable period for him to regain his optimum match form, even for a player of his prodigious talent.

Missing the start of a season, regardless of the sport, robs one of the excitement and anticipation that comes after a summer of preparation.

For Asal, the sense of expectation, goal, and focus has been abruptly stripped away, replaced with a three-month hiatus devoid of purpose.

Asal's exposure to the PSA's 'extra' camera angle evidence played a crucial role in his matches against Joel Makin and Mazen Hesham at the PSA World Championships.

In response to these damning freeze-frame images, Asal's coach, Mohamed Elkeiy, has spoken candidly about Asal engaging in match play workshops with James Willstrop to address these 'issues.' Yet, Willstrop recently confirmed that this claim has yet to materialise. This raises the question of how serious Team Asal truly is about rectifying these faults.

However, the other facet, raised recently by Jonah Barrington is the potential role of rivals in magnifying or exaggerating Asal's infringements.

This recurring drama has become both tiresome and detrimental to the sport of squash. The concern is that upon Asal's return to the court, we may find that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Should that be the case, the ultimate fear is that Mostafa Asal may never fully realise his astronomical potential, and the 'Age of Asal' will remain an elusive mirage, tantalisingly close yet ever out of grasp, devoid of substantial fulfillment.

The Professional Squash Association (PSA) has confirmed that Mostafa Asal is facing a 12-week suspension from the PSA World Tour, which will be effective from July 18. Alongside this suspension, Mostafa Asal has also been fined £5,000.

The disciplinary action has been taken in response to three separate breaches of the PSA Code of Conduct that occurred during recent matches on the PSA World Tour. Specifically, Asal was charged with 'Abuse of Racket or Equipment' and 'Unsportsmanlike Conduct' during his round three match with Joel Makin at the PSA World Championships on May 6, 2023. Furthermore, he was found to have committed 'Physical Abuse' and 'Dangerous Play' during the same match with Makin. Additionally, during his quarter-final match with Mazen Hesham at the PSA World Championships on May 8, 2023, Asal was charged with 'Unsportsmanlike Conduct' once again.

The PSA Disciplinary Committee has considered the severity and repetition of these offenses, categorising them as 'Aggravated Behaviour' under Article 6.C of the PSA Code of Conduct. This classification significantly influenced the imposed sanction. It is noteworthy that Mostafa Asal showed remorse for his actions, and this was taken into account during the committee's decision-making process.

Accepting the suspension, Mostafa Asal has opted not to appeal within the 15-day appeals period. Consequently, he will not be eligible to participate in any PSA World Tour events until the 10th October, 2023.

In light of the suspension, Mostafa Asal has been withdrawn from the upcoming Paris Squash Alpine tournament. However, his withdrawal will not result in a disciplinary zero. The PSA will announce an updated Paris Squash Alpine draw in due course.

As this matter has been thoroughly addressed by the PSA Disciplinary Committee, no further comments will be made by the PSA at this time.