In one of the most radical changes in the sport in recent times, the World Squash Federation has voted to change the scoring system in Squash to ‘Point-A-Rally’ (PAR) to 11 points per game. The new scoring system will take effect worldwide, across all areas of the sport, from 1st April 2009.
The decision was taken by an overwhelming vote by Member National Federations at the WSF AGM in Manchester last week.
Whilst PAR scoring has been used on the men’s professional circuit for many years – and was more recently introduced by the women’s tour - ‘hand-in-hand-out’ scoring to nine points a game has been practiced globally by recreational players for many decades.
The subject led to the liveliest debate at the AGM and the earlier Conference. After several decades of ‘HiHo’ scoring, PAR to 11 is a change which impacts on every player worldwide.
Isle of Man delegate Ian McKenzie led the charge of the old brigade, arguing passionately to retain traditional scoring whilst introducing into the rules PAR to 11 for the professional game.
Amongst survey statistics quoted perhaps the most interesting came from Belgium, which recently introduced PAR to 11 domestically for some 2000 players – without a single complaint received!
It quickly became clear that most Member National Associations were much in favour of PAR to 11 for all. However, some words of caution advised that instead of making this the only available scoring system - and forcing it on all at every level - there was merit in allowing it be adopted by choice, especially at local levels in the game.
The Management Committee of WSF worked on this and, on the eve of the AGM, presented delegates with an amended motion allowing both scoring systems to remain side by side in the rules, and this was what was overwhelmingly voted through.
Thus from 1st April 2009, the principal scoring system for Squash will change to PAR to 11 (going to two clear points if 10-all is reached).
Already used in both PSA and WISPA Tour events – and, as such, seen regularly on TV – PAR scoring will now extend to all WSF championships, and all Major Games in which squash is featured, e.g. Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, Pan-American Games, World University Games, World Games, and others.
It was also agreed that next month’s Women’s World Team Championships in Cairo will use PAR 11 for all matches in advance of the official April 2009 start date as this is a high-profile event which will feature a large number of WISPA players who are already familiar with the scoring system.
The recent experiment of using it in the European Squash Federation (ESF) Junior Circuit and Championships will now become the norm - and it is certain that other WSF Regional Federations will also introduce it, as will many MNA's for their domestic championships and leagues.
In a further vote taken at the WSF AGM, PAR to 11 was also introduced for international doubles (changing it from PAR to 9 which was introduced in 2007) – and will be used in the WSF International Doubles Championships in Chennai in December. However, the principle of sudden death at 10-all will be retained
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images