Professional Squash Association (PSA) Celebrate 50-year Anniversary

February 29 2024

Today heralds a momentous occasion for the Professional Squash Association (PSA) as they celebrate a half-century of excellence. For fifty years, the PSA has been at the vanguard, championing and propelling the sport of squash to unprecedented heights worldwide. Throughout the past 50 years, The PSA has shaped the landscape of professional squash which represents five decades of extraordinary achievements and enduring legacies, encapsulating the essence of our remarkable 50-year odyssey.

International Squash Players Association (ISPA):
On February 21, 1974, a pivotal moment in squash history unfolded with the establishment of the International Squash Players Association (ISPA). The seeds of this development were sown amidst discontent over the arbitrary seedings for events, culminating in the withdrawal of Australian player Ken Hiscoe from the Prodorite Squash Open in Birmingham, England. The Australian’s protest served as a catalyst, bringing to light simmering tensions between players and the administrative bodies, particularly the SRA (forerunner to England Squash).

During this era, squash administration predominantly catered to the amateur game, leaving professional players feeling powerless over their livelihoods and arrangements. The emergence of Jonah Barrington as a pioneering figure in professional squash, notably through his independent tour of Asia, highlighted the need for a unified professional body. Inspired by similar movements in tennis, including the formation of the ATP and the WTA, squash players sought greater autonomy and control over their careers.

Following a crisis meeting in 1974, Jonah Barrington announced the formation of the ISPA, with a mission to coordinate professional players' interests globally and foster the development of competitive squash. The inaugural leadership team comprised Jonah Barrington as Chairman, Ken Hiscoe as President and Geoff Hunt as Vice President, with Geoff Poole assuming the role of Secretary.

The ISPA swiftly initiated its own professional squash tour, established tour rules, and enforced a code of conduct for members. Notably, the introduction of a squash-specific computer rankings system in 1979 marked a significant milestone in the professionalisation of squash. Just two years after its inception, the ISPA facilitated the inaugural World Open Squash Championships in 1976, where Australian legends Geoff Hunt and Heather McKay emerged victorious in their respective categories, cementing the association's role in shaping the future of professional squash.

Women’s International Squash Players Association (WISPA):
In the late 1970s, a cohort of women within the squash community advocated for the establishment of a dedicated governing body for women's professional squash. Their efforts materialised in 1978 with the first attempt to create a standalone women's squash organisation. However, this initial endeavour faltered, leading to the integration of women's game governance into the ISRF (now the WSF). Janet Morgan Shardlow, a formidable figure with ten British Squash Open titles to her name, assumed the chairmanship of the Women's International Squash Rackets Federation (WISRF).

Simultaneously, notable teaching professionals such as Angela Smith and Sue Cogswell transitioned into full-time touring players, further shaping the landscape of women's squash. Five years later, in 1983, during a gathering at the World Squash Open in Perth, a consensus was reached among players advocating for a separate women's organisation. The Women's International Squash Players Association (WISPA) was established, with its inaugural meeting convened at the Belfast Boat Club in Northern Ireland the following year.

In 2012, and the organisation underwent a name change, rebranding itself as the Women's Squash Association (WSA), reflecting its continued evolution and commitment to advancing women's squash on a global scale.

In 2015, a significant development reshaped the landscape of professional squash as the men's association, the PSA, and the women's association, WSA, united under the PSA banner. This merger marked a pivotal moment in the sport's history, consolidating both genders' professional circuits under a single, unified entity.