Looking forwards to the safe return of squash
England Squash CEO Keir Worth provides an update on the return to play including a proposal to the DCMS for a relaxation of the rules at all tiers allowing an increased level of play, once the current lockdown is lifted.
Like you, I was hugely frustrated by the news that squash clubs must close once again at a time when players were beginning to get back on court.
COVID-19 has changed the world around us, affecting our families, communities, and our ability to do the things we love most, including playing, coaching, supporting and watching squash. As we all know, squash is more than just being on court, it brings people together, and for many it’s a way of life. Squash clubs are at the heart of many communities and play a vital role in sustaining mental wellbeing and community spirit as we weather the pandemic storm.
I’ve been extremely proud and inspired by the resilience of the squash community, and heartened by the many stories of clubs, staff, coaches and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to make facilities as safe as possible so that we could return to play. The closure of courts for an extended period along with the new tiered restrictions have inevitably had a detrimental impact on our community, above and beyond the challenging financial pressures on facilities and the staff who work and volunteer within them. We are also aware of the huge social, health and general well-being impacts on players across the country.
England Squash continues to do everything possible to help the community through this unprecedented period, so that together we can recover and, where necessary, reinvent and secure a sustainable future for squash. Alongside other national governing bodies including Badminton England and the Lawn Tennis Association, we have submitted a proposal to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) for a relaxation of the rules at all tiers allowing an increased level of play, once the current lockdown is lifted.
We are also calling on Government to instigate emergency support to ensure sports clubs and leisure centres can remain open and survive the coming months through the Sports Recovery Fund petition. We urge you to sign the petition and help it reach 100,000 signatures so that it will be considered for debate in Parliament.
To help shape our ongoing conversations with DCMS and Sport England in the return to play, and provide enhanced support and resources to clubs and venues, we have released a further club survey. We urge anyone involved in running a squash club or venue to complete the survey as soon as possible.
We will share further developments on the return to play by email, on our Back to Squash hub and across Twitter and Facebook.
I am confident that by continuing to work together and combining our efforts, we will overcome the challenges ahead and emerge from this crisis stronger and more adaptable than ever.