As part of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, we wanted to highlight the togetherness and solidarity of the wider squash community. Back in May 2020, the PSA Foundation launched the ‘We Are One’ Fund to support the players of the PSA Tour adversely affected by the pandemic. Together we have raised $130,000 towards making sure the players we know and love are back on court by the end of the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it the suspension of the PSA Tour back in March 2020. Tournament prize money, exhibition matches and sponsorship deals are the main sources of income for the players of the PSA Tour. Suddenly, and still to this day for a large number of the players, their income was suddenly shut off alongside the postponement of international tournaments.
A player driven initiative, the ‘We Are One’ Fund has been rallied behind by a truly diverse range of individuals and groups. Large and generous donations have come in from squash fans, many PSA players who aren’t as adversely affected, PSA staff and board members. Various clubs and smaller social groups have hosted fundraisers to show their support. Multiple international fundraisers have taken place, including but not limited to; the World Squash Day Auction; The Squash Summit 2021, the proceeds from merchandise sales of the St. James’s Place Canary Wharf Squash Classic 2020 & the sales from the Behind The Glass – 2019/20 PSA World Tour Photobook. Truly, all members of the wider squash community showing solidarity to offer their support.
A selection of World Tour tournaments have been able to make a return, but with heavy restrictions and limited draw sizes, unfortunately, this still leaves many players still without their usual income streams. The ‘We Are One’ Fund seeks to support those players that are struggling with covering basic necessities such as food, bills, rent and medical expenses. We see the funding as particularly important for younger players, who dream of reaching the top of the sport, but are new to the PSA Tour and face challenges around funding the start of their careers.
We are delighted to have been able to reach 34 different countries, showing the true wide spread of those active on the PSA Tour. The percentage split that can be seen above between men and women has also almost achieved total parity in distribution. 66% of players on the PSA Tour are male compared with 69% being awarded, and with 34% of players on the PSA Tour being female compared to 31% of grants being awarded.
Many tournaments are registering for a return at the start of next season (September onwards), so we remain hopeful of a speedy return to court for the PSA Tour players. However for now, the majority of players still face a lack of competition and a struggle for funding.
If you would like to support the We Are One Fund you can still donate on the following link: https://psafoundation.com/tocwlp/