Sheffield’s Nick Matthew campaigns for equal pay for women players

England's Laura Massaro
England's Laura Massaro
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Starting January 1, 2015, there will be, for the first time in squash’s history, one governing body responsible for running the men’s and women’s professional game.

The sport’s major stakeholders and members of the Professional Squash Association (PSA) and Women’s Squash Association (WSA) overwhelmingly voted in favour of the two governing bodies joining forces last week.

I am a big supporter of the two federations joining together. Everyone will be pulling in the same direction and can share resources rather than having two associations fighting it out for similar things.

Some of the men are worried their prize money might be reduced if we are pulling out of the same pot. That’s an understandable concern.

The women are worried they might get diluted in the mens game and not get as much exposure as the men and I understand those arguments.

But the two associations have shown a willingness to take a leap of faith. Hopefully this merger will help with our Olympic bid. I think the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results. Something has got to change for us to become an Olympic sport. It will be years before we find out whether the two bodies joining forces was the right decision.

At the moment, the men’s game gets a lot more TV coverage and that needs to be evened out. Because the men and women will soon come as one package, it should hopefully add value to the product we are trying to sell.

The biggest star in squash worldwide is probably Nicol David. She is an absolute superstar in her home country Malaysia. We have Laura Massaro in England who holds the World and British Open titles. The women’s tour is strong in depth.

Another aim of the merger is to increase the level of equality and parity in prize money. Equal pay is a hot topic. There are some sports where there is a lot of disparity. Look at the difference between male and female footballers.

It should be equal prize money for men and women in squash. We both put in the same hours, play exactly the same rules, scoring systems and play the same number of sets. For me, women deserve their platform. That will only help grow the game and get more bums on seats and more kids thinking they can earn a living out of the game so therefore standards will improve.