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Top teams withdraw from World Squash Championships in Cairo
Several top-seeded teams have announced their withdrawal from the World Men’s Squash Team Championships scheduled to start in Cairo on December 12.
The English team, five-time winners of the championships, are among other teams including France, Germany, Finland, USA and Canada that has decided to pull out from the competition amid security fears.
England Squash chief Keir Worth announced on Tuesday his country’s decision to withdraw from the competition.
“We have been through a significant consultation with the players and support staff over recent weeks and we are extremely disappointed to be withdrawing, but the safety of our players and support staff remains our only priority and, at this time, we have real concerns,” Worth said.
“Following the release of security plans for the event and subsequently a comprehensive report from independent security advisers, we have concluded that there is an inherent risk that has not been mitigated to an acceptable level,” Worth added.
Captain of the English team Nick Matthew decided along with the rest of the English squad to pull out of the Championships unanimously.
“The England team are incredibly disappointed not to be taking part in Cairo. The World Team Championships is one of the most prestigious events in squash and has provided many highlights in our careers,” Mattew said.
“We were very much looking forward to defending our title in Cairo, a city we have all enjoyed visiting in the past. However, having been consulted throughout the process by England Squash, the whole team fully support the decision to withdraw on the basis of the advice from the independent security report,” he added.
Despite six teams withdrawing, the World Squash Federation (WSF) announced that the competition would proceed as scheduled.
“The Championship is proceeding and the Egyptian Squash Federation have a great welcome in place for participating teams and look forward to seeing you there next week,” a statement on the WSF website read.
The WSF expressed their disappointment over the withdrawals. “This is both disappointing and a little difficult to understand as there has been no security threat there, unlike for the people of other nations tragically targeted by extremists,” the statement read.
“Cairo is a city where it is ‘business as usual’, though to add reassurance for nations, a full range of protection measures are in place managed by the Egyptian Government, as reported to participating nations.”
Hosts Egypt were pooled with Pakistan and the United States, however, the US team have pulled out. An updated draw will be provided following the recent withdrawals, according to the WSF website.