ISLAMABAD-World Squash Federation (WSF) panel referee Tahir Khanzada has said that Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) should also focus on providing maximum exposure to Pakistani referees, as it can help them officiate WSF and other mega events.

Talking to The Nation, Tahir, who is also director referees Asian Squash Federation (ASF) and PSF vice president, said: “I was appointed head of referees in Asia last year, while I am head of referees in Pakistan since 2015. Prior to my appointment, there were hardly any regular clinics and exposure for Pakistani referees, as all are aware that unlike of other sports, referees in squash don’t have any permanent jobs, nor they have enough tournaments to earn bread and butter for their families, but they only have limited tournaments and it is impossible for them to meet both ends.”

He said squash is only passion that’s why people want to become referees. “In squash, unlike of players and coaches, departments don’t offer jobs to referees. I have attended clinics and refresher courses in 2003 in Vienna and in 2005 in New Zealand, but I have to bear all my expenses. I have been now the WSF panel referee since 2003 and I have honour to conduct squash matches from USA to Australia and other parts of the world. Unfortunately, present WSF has representation of only two Pakistani referees as besides me, the other one is Jamshed Gul Khan while we have three zonal referees in Asia including Asif Khan, M Sajjad and Munawwar Zaman.

“Yes, it is very low representation as far as Pakistan is concerned, but now last year, the WSF and the PSA have established a committee, which will develop a criteria of inducting more referees,” he added.

When asked being vice president, why not he takes up the referees’ issue with present management, Tahir replied: “I will take up the issue, but I know referees around the world are facing same problems. It is a world-wide issue and the WSF and the PSA, along with national federations, have to take up this issue very seriously to ensure quality referees.

“Like other sports, no one wants to become referee in squash. Past players want to become coaches to earn monthly, which is a very serious issue. The PSF is also doing its best to conduct maximum tournaments and I hope after these three back-to-back $10,000 series, the PSA will allocate more international tournaments to Pakistan this year,” he concluded.