Gawain Briars, Chief Executive of the Professional Squash Association for the past nine years, announced his retirement effective Mar. 31, 2008. Under his stewardship, the PSA has enjoyed an exponential growth in tour event numbers, tour revenue and membership numbers.
Since October of 1999, the world tour program has grown from 100 events and US $1.5 million in prize money, to over 370 events and a total prize fund exceeding US $3.2 million. Similarly, membership in PSA has grown from 301 to over 400 player from 59 countries, covering the five continental regions of the world.
Point-a-rally scoring to 11 points was promoted and driven by Briars, a reform that has proven successful and adding excitement and dynamic performances at the highest level of play. Also under Briars’ watch, PSALive, a pioneering web streaming service, has made possible live, replay and archive coverage of squash worldwide—a monumental step toward increasing exposure of squash globally.
“Gawain’s retirement as Chief Executive marks a turning point for the Association,” said PSA Chairman Mark Chaloner. “His high standards have led the men’s professional game into a new era where compensation levels, event and membership numbers are at an unsurpassed level. His legal experience has been invaluable in ensuring the Association is well placed in its increasingly complex contractual arrangements, and his willingness to continuously travel the world to visit our customers and tournaments has ensured that PSA’s profile has remained at the highest level.”
Briars added: “I have immensely enjoyed my nine years at the helm of PSA. These have been uniquely challenging times for the growth and marketing of the professional game and I am privileged to have had the opportunity of taking part in the steady and marked growth of the tour in all its facets. The lot of the professional squash player is an exceptionally hard one with travel and on court physical exertion tested to the maximum. The players deserve every dollar they receive and more. I am confident that my successor will continue to provide increased events and remuneration to the players who travel the world exhibiting their talents.”
“We can assure all our partners that normal service will continue at PSA in the period until a new appointment is made,” explained Chaloner. “The Cardiff staff, headed by Tour Director Sheila Cooksley, will continue with the excellent work they do in managing the PSA Tour, and Ted Wallbutton, former CEO of the World Squash Federation, will step in as interim CEO of PSA to facilitate the change process and ensure that there is effective communication at all levels.”