The Professional Squash Association (PSA) can confirm that the Qatar Classic – announced as part of the provisional PSA World Tour calendar on August 6 – will go ahead as scheduled between November 1-7 in Doha, Qatar.
The Qatar Classic will be the second men’s PSA World Tour Platinum tournament of the 2020-21 season and will adhere to the same COVID-19 protocols in place at all three previous PSA World Tour events since the restart. It will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world), the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (rest of world) and the channels of contracted broadcasters.
The PSA World Tour returned on September 16 with the Manchester Open and was followed later that month by the CIB PSA World Tour Finals, while the CIB Egyptian Open is currently taking place in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
All three events have been held in accordance with strict COVID-19 protocols. All players and staff were tested prior to travelling to the tournaments before taking a further test upon arrival. Once a negative result had been received, that person was then allowed to enter the tournament bubble, with further testing every four days during tournaments.
Throughout all testing so far, only two players have tested positive for COVID-19. These tests were taken before entering the tournament bubble and occurred prior to the CIB Egyptian Open beginning.
The El Gouna International and Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Open – which were on the provisional calendar for November and December – will not go ahead due to complications arising from the COVID-19 pandemic with the PSA remaining hopeful that it could replace those with other events.
Following the return of the PSA Challenger Tour last month with the Expression Networks Nolan and Liam’s Tournament, there are a further 10 Challenger tournaments scheduled up until the end of 2020 across the Middle East, Europe, North America and Asia.
“We’re pleased to confirm that the Qatar Classic will go ahead and I would like to thank the Qatar Squash Federation for their hard work in putting on this tournament,” said PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough.
“While we are naturally disappointed that the El Gouna International and Hong Kong Open will no longer go ahead as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are working hard to confirm alternative events for the rest of 2020 and hope to share further news in due course.
“This has been a difficult time for all involved in the sport, but we have taken a hugely important step to relaunching professional squash with the successful staging of three events in September and October.
“Strict COVID-19 protocols were in place at all events and we are delighted that not one player tested positive whilst in the tournament bubble. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support and understanding of our players and tournament organisers and I’d like to thank them for all their hard work and dedication which has made our tournaments a safe place to operate.”
Qatar Squash Federation Secretary General, Tariq Darwish Zainal, said: “We are delighted to welcome the world’s squash family back to Doha again for the Qatar Classic despite the challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic which has had an unprecedented impact on global sports.
“I would like to assure all stakeholders that the health and safety of all participants is paramount to us, and various measures have been put in place, in partnership with the health authorities, to ensure a very safe and conducive environment for all. We are glad that we could hold the event in Doha against all the odds and looking forward to one impressive squash tournament.”