Welcome to the fall 2022 edition of BTG. Can it be that we are on the home stretch of this pandemic thing? There are still a few potentially life-changing unknowns hanging over our collective head – but we soldier on anyway. As they say, prediction is very difficult – especially about the future! So once again, this issue features a cornucopia (cool word!) of all things officiating. Our staff at BTG world headquarters has again created an interesting collection of news, interviews, reports, articles, resources – and a laugh or two. Here we go! ……. ED


The pace of squash activities is slowly picking up – and we have a few accomplishments to announce:

  • Congratulations: Ben Ladell (AB), Colin Schille (AB) and Simon Bicknell (BC) for becoming Provincial Referees
  • Congratulations: Robert Davies (NB), Andrew Avery (PE), Lee Russell (BC) and Abdelrahman Abdallah (NS) for becoming Local Referees


If we’ve missed you on promotion, or you would like more details on what you need to progress, or any other program questions for that matter - please contact Dave Howard at dave.squash@gmail.com or Geoffrey Johnson at geoff.johnson@squash.ca.


Worth repeating for those aspiring to great heights:

  • Just because it pops into your head does not mean it should come out of your mouth!
  • A closed mouth gathers no foot.
  • Don’t look back; you’re not going that way.
  • If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

Remember, you’re unique - just like everyone else.

A ref denies a Let to a player – so the player then quips: "You don't know how fast I think I am!"




Basic concept

Strictly speaking, an appeal for a Let when there is no interference would normally result in a No Let – but the RFOI concept allows for a Let on the grounds of safety. You’ll note that the provisions relating to it (8.6 & 8.9.3) are not designed for use with actual interference – but rather for situations where the opponent is clear of, yet close to, being in an interfering position.


As a practical matter, RFOI applies to potential interference to the swing and to the path of the ball (a.k.a., danger zone). Of course, it can’t be applied to interference to the view (you can’t hurt someone by looking) – and its application to ‘access’ interference is tenuous given that the striker usually has no real concern about hurting the opponent while moving to the ball.


Actual interference

The RFOI concept is quite different from situations where the striker encounters actual interference and then stops play. In those situations, continuing the action would definitely lead to an actual contact which could then cause an injury. With those situations, the possibility of any of the usual three decisions exists – whereas for true RFOI, only a ‘Yes Let’ generally applies - with safety being the rationale. A Stroke is, of course, out of the question since there is no interference. As for a No Let, that is a questionable option since denying a Let when the opponent is indeed in close proximity is likely to encourage dangerous play the next time something similar occurs. Rather than risk another No Let, the striker is likely to simply carry on without consideration of safety.


Reasonable fear

For the game to function safely, there has to be an understanding among all involved that, even though there is no interference, many situations will correctly wind up with Yes Let decisions. Given that, some might conclude that the Referee’s job is solely to determine whether the striker indeed does have such a fear, and if so, to then simply grant the Let - even though the opponent might be a mile away at that moment.


However, that approach (automatic Let for fear) leaves the potential for much abuse of the privilege of stopping play – when the real reason might be because the striker is tiring or is caught in a disadvantageous position. To reach the fair decision, a Referee can consider whether the potentially-interfering opponent is ‘well clear’ – two helpful words that some time ago were part of the rules but were inadvertently left out in recent editions. Their use in the Referee’s mind help set a parameter about the opponent’s position as one that could not possibly be close to interfering. If these words fit the situation, then a No Let is perfectly justified (albeit uncommon). They make clear that simply having the fear is not enough. It must be reasonable, and if the opponent is ‘well clear’ – then the fear isn’t reasonable. Note that, in general, the better the player the less leeway should be needed for ‘reasonable fear’ as the better players tend to have better control of their racquet and their shots, as well as keener situational awareness about their opponent’s position.

RFOI Video Compilation

In this video, we see a compilation of Lets awarded on the basis of RFOI – some to do with potential interference of the path of the ball, and others to do with potential interference to the swing. 

A foot fault is called, and the player queries: "Aren't you going to warn me first about that?" The ref answers: "And are there any other rules you'd like me to warn you about?!" 


This news came out in December 2020, and at this point in 2022, everything is still on – barring an unfortunate continuation of you-know-what. There’s hope, since the games are over 400 days away (late October 2023). This event is simply a wonderful opportunity for keen refs because the high level competition provides great challenges, and the social aspects provide lasting memories.


Squash has been included in every Pan Am Games since the 1995 Games in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Canada has excelled in them, winning a total of 41 medals over that time span, including a best-ever haul of 7 medals at the 2019 Games in Lima, Peru. There’ll be some 6000 athletes present – participating in 38 sports and 57 disciplines within those sports. So when the time comes and the call goes out – will you be eligible and ready?


After 40 years in the Canadian sport system, Squash Canada Executive Director Dan Wolfenden has announced his retirement later this year. Over the next six months, he will help during the transition period, with the recruitment process to be launched shortly with the benefit of the services of Sport Law.


Wolfenden will leave Squash Canada in a very sound financial and organizational position, having grown its assets and operational budgets twofold. The organization benefits from his work to bring strategic direction, greater alignment with a family of Pan Canadian governance policies adopted at the national and provincial levels, a uniform national platform for membership, competition and rankings management, and growth in its major events.


“Dan has played a critical role in the development and success of Squash Canada, and we wish him all the best as he leaves us to enjoy a well-deserved retirement,” stated Squash Canada President Sandra Thompson. “We want to thank him for his years of dedicated service in building squash in Canada. His thoughtful and sound direction has produced a stronger organization that enjoys an excellent relationship with its stakeholders and partners. As well, Dan has assembled and developed an excellent team that delivers a high level of service that helps to grow our sport.”


We are pleased to confirm that Dan will be staying on to work with his replacement on a seamless transition. We wish him a very happy and healthy retirement! We have been most fortunate to benefit from his deep knowledge of sport and enthusiasm for squash over the past seven years.”


Wolfenden came to Squash Canada in October 2015 after a two-year tenure with the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee, where he oversaw a team that managed 15 sports on the program. Previously, he was the Executive Director of Water Ski and Wakeboard Canada and Lawn Bowls Canada. Prior to that Dan was the High Performance Director of Skate Canada.


“It’s been a terrific seven years with Squash Canada,” said Wolfenden. “It has been an honour to serve the organization, and to come to know and work with so many great people. Squash is a wonderful sport. I truly appreciate and respect the great athleticism that our highest performers exhibit, the healthy lifestyle that is its virtue, and the social and community building that is at its core. I see joy in squash every day.


I will miss the people of squash, and indeed of the broader Canadian sport system. I would wish upon other sectors the dedication, passion, and resiliency of leaders that have helped drive Canadian sport.”


The SCOC’s very own Dave Howard was chosen as the TR for the WSF’s World Games held in mid-July in Birmingham, U.S.A. – and one of our ever-vigilant BTG international correspondents spotted this article that we now share with you.

With 30 years of refereeing under his belt, Canada’s David ‘Dave’ Howard is one of the most experienced officials in squash. Having refereed at the top of the game, with highlights including the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia and the glamorous Tournament of Champions on the PSA World Tour, Howard will take on the role of Championship Referee at The World Games in Birmingham, where he will lead a team of eight officials when the squash competition begins tomorrow, July 13. To get an insider’s perspective on the life of a top squash referee, WSF media sat down with Howard for a refereeing Q&A.


Dave, thank you for chatting with us today, could we begin by asking you about how you first got involved in squash?

“You’re very welcome. I actually started out as a badminton and tennis player and only hit a squash ball a few times as a kid. But then I wasn’t getting what I wanted in badminton so I decided to switch. “For quite a few years I played the game the same way I played badminton, lots of wrist, always facing the front wall! It wasn’t until I actually took a coaching course, coaching kids, that I learned from [1979 World Team Championship winner and former England and Canada national coach] Barb Cooper and learned how I’m supposed to be doing it! I’ve played competitively and for fun ever since.”


And how did you begin refereeing?

“When I started playing, there were a lot of calls that I disagreed with – funny as that may seem – and I wanted to do something about it. Of course, referees are notoriously bad for being reffed! But even before I reffed I didn’t like some of the things that people were doing. So, I figured I better go and learn the rules and do things right.”


What is it that you enjoy about the role?

“Well, I like to have a little bit of stress and I guess you have to have kind of an inner masochistic streak to be a referee! But I enjoy that. The group together, too. The community of referees is a group with lots of great people, I really enjoy the camaraderie referees share. “I like the travel part of it, too. I’ve always been a bit of a traveller even in work, but I’ve seen some amazing places around the world through squash.


How would you describe yourself as a referee? Do you have a refereeing ‘philosophy’?

“My philosophy is that I don’t really want to be noticed. I want to be low key. And I want to try and get as many calls right as I can, but if I get it wrong, I’ve got to get over it and do better. “I try and be empathetic, especially when refereeing juniors. I think part of that is because when I was just starting as a referee I remember a junior tournament one of my daughters, Ellen, was playing. It was her first tournament and she was drawn with the top seed in the opening round, who was absolutely crushing her. “Then, she finally won a serve [scoring Hand-In-Hand-Out] and the referee called her on a foot fault. Of course, there was no question that it was a foot fault, but I remember thinking ‘Why would you do that to a young kid who was getting crushed?’ So I’ll always try and give a warning if I notice anything in their positioning.”


When the squash gets underway tomorrow at The World Games you’ll be the Championship Referee, how do you perceive that role?

“I think the best metaphor for it would be ‘president of the board or the board of directors.’ So I’m kind of running the meetings, but I want everybody to work together and I want them to be thinking along the same lines. “My biggest role will be putting the right people on the right matches, so that the referees get a challenge and good games, but they’re not in over their heads. If I know that one player has had trouble with a ref, I’m not going to put that same ref on their next match. So it’s more of a just a an organisational thing. I want us to work as a team and I’ve done it enough times that I think I’ll be successful.


It’s a diverse team of referees travelling, with Bermuda, France, New Zealand, the United States and Venezuela represented. How well do you know your team?

“There are just three who I haven’t met before. The rest I’ve worked with before, but the whole group will be a great team. As referees, you get to know each other quickly, even though we probably won’t see much of each other because it’s a busy schedule. We’re going to be going from eight in the morning until eleven at night, for the first couple of days at least. We’ll get together before we start, but for those first couple of days it’s going to be hard to get together with anybody but the marker you’re working with. “Usually, I’d take my racket as most of the the referees are a fun lot and we can get get some bangs in sometimes early in the morning, but not this time unfortunately.”


Once the tournament is over, how do you like to unwind?

“I like visiting with friends’ family. We have a cottage in Peterborough, Ontario, so we all travel up there and get together. There’s lots of swimming and I’m a big card player; bridge is probably my favourite game. I’m a bit of a computer geek, too, so I like to have some fun with programming.”



We have to repeat that this is the site for Canadian refs to find out pretty much everything about our program.


Check out the ‘Reports’ menu option to find the information on all our Referees, the status of your overall match assessments, individual competency assessments, and assessments you have done on others if you’re an Assessor. As well, PT Administrators can view all of this information for members of their association. These reports can be sorted by any of the column headings (Name, Province, Referee Level,…) and can also be downloaded to an Excel compatible file.


There have also been some enhancements to information in your profile (Click on your Name in the upper right corner next to ‘Log off’). To keep your P/T association current, please take this opportunity to update your profile, especially your contact information.



As of August 2022, the SCOC and the Squash Canada Board have decided to eliminate local certification clinics as vehicles for initial certification. This now makes the Online Referee Certification course via the CAC Locker as the only option – thus standardizing the process nationwide to become a certified Club Referee. A candidate will need to successfully complete the Online Referee Certification course and exam through CAC (Coaching Association of Canada) LOCKER under the eLearning section web site, as follows:


(an NCCP# is required) and cost is still $35.


Along with this change, Squash Canada will make available to P/Ts, through our database, a selection of teaching materials – including the revised PowerPoint Rules Clinics (see below) and related video modules designed to ensure uniformity of content across the country.


What is now our principal Rules Clinic PowerPoint presentation has been updated to reflect equal representation of men and women in so far as the videos and still photos are concerned. This 107-slide presentation is a useful tool for players and refs who wish to attend a live or virtual presentation with an instructor. It can also be tailored according to interest – allowing for extensive discussions and Q & A segments to help better understand the rules of the game.


This presentation, dated September 1st, 2022, will soon be available on the Squash Canada Officials database at 



We are once more reminding Assessors of changes to program’s teaching aids, all found on the Squash Canada Officials web site at https://www.squashcanadaofficial.com/


Now that the online course has become the sole approved path to certification, the ‘Rules Clinic’ Powerpoint presentation takes on the role of adjunct teaching aid. It has been modified to be more amenable to the typical club player who is mostly interested in a casual review of the rules – but can also serve as a springboard for discussions among certified Referees. It has also been updated with a few changes surrounding bleeding issues.


As an instructor, you may present it in its full and current form – but you also have the option of creating a custom version to meet the needs of a given club. To help with that, we’ve created an INDEX which allows you to locate specific slides by topic - which you can then collate to suit the request. That INDEX is found as the last 4 slides of the Rules Clinic presentation – along with pertinent instructions.

At a local event, the ref denies at Let to a player appealing on an attempt to get to the ball. He then starts to complain vociferously – but just then his wife, who was watching, interrupts with: “No dear – you couldn’t have got to it!”

In case you’ve never been there, our Officiating Program has its own YouTube site where video modules (listed in the ‘Resources’ area of our Squash Canada Officials database) are available for immediate playback – without any time-consuming download time unless of course, you want the module stored on your own computer). TIP FOR USE: Simply click on the camera icon to the right of the title.  

A player, walking on to the court for what he knows will be a very tough match, asks the ref: “Do you take Visa, Mastercard, American Express?”

BTG has several times reported to you about the WSO initiative to standardize and promote officiating worldwide. The program has been launched and its website is: https://worldsquashofficiating.com/ . In mid-July, the WSO circulated this notice:


We have now officially partnered with 22 federations and have over 2,000 individual registered users on the platform. More than 800 have completed at least the introductory Level 0 WSO course and over 80 have completed WSO Level 3 theory. 


WSO Level 4 is being finalised and is set to be released at the end of the summer. Level 4 builds on advanced knowledge and experience by focusing on the subtleties of the game and the attention to detail required to officiate at major international events.


As the existing officiating workforce continues to migrate to the WSO program, PSA and WSF believe that now is the appropriate time to start the transition to only appointing WSO-qualified officials to PSA World Tour events. 

It has been agreed that from 1 September 2022 all officials appointed by WSO at PSA World Tour events will have to be at least WSO Level 2 and have completed the theory test of WSO Level 3. This recognises that individuals may not yet be able to satisfy the practical elements of WSO Level 3 due to continued challenges caused by the pandemic.


PSA and WSF are firmly committed to WSO, to standardising officiating qualifications worldwide, and to improving the overall standard of refereeing throughout squash. Please support us and help to develop an officiating system the sport can be proud of.

If you need any help or assistance you can either contact us through the WSO platform or at: info@worldsquashofficiating.com.


Squash Canada’s relationship with the WSO is currently being finalized and details will be released in due course.


As of December 1st, 2021, a new policy came into effect, essentially to “… mandate competitive players to take the online officiating course and exam to become a Certified Referee” as an entry requirement for Canadian Championships. 

This will achieve three benefits:

  • To better educate players on the rules of squash to aid in their own play.
  • To increase the number of people in a better position to referee matches at events (from their Club level up to Nationals) when called upon to do so.
  • To stimulate interest amongst players to pursue higher levels of officiating certification.

A survey was conducted of all P/T’s Executive Directors/Presidents and the Squash Canada Officiating Committee to determine the best approach – and the results were overwhelmingly in favour of a motion which required a minimum ‘Club Referee’ certification level for all players entering U15, U17, and U19 categories in the Canadian Junior Open (Canadian players only) and the Canadian Junior Closed - as well as players entering the Canadian Squash Championships, Canadian Masters Teams Championships, Canadian Men’s and Women’s Teams Championships and Canadian U23 Championships. 



Following the rules changes that the WSF instituted back in December 2020, at that time we updated our Referee Certification course to reflect those changes. Then, this past November 2021, the WSF added to the rules a minor tweak (referred to in an item above) – and so once again, we modified the online course.
However, while we were at it, we decided to create a better gender balance in the course content. So in that light, over the past couple of months, SCOC members consulted and came up with a few new interference video clips (including their text explanations and translations ) featuring women players to replace certain clips with men players. It’s now up to date, so if some of your friends are still unvax …. er ….uncertified as refs – tell them this is their chance to get on board. The course is only $35 – a steal by any measure!
Finally, the actual location of the course has changed as of the start of 2022. The entire production is now housed on the web site of the Coaching Association of Canada – specifically here: Click Here

Once a candidate is registered (an NCCP is required), click on the ‘ELEARNING’ option, followed by selecting ‘Squash’ in the ‘Multi-Sport’ dropdown box on the left side, will then bring up the ‘Online Referee Certification’ link to start the course.
The SCOC is especially grateful to Tim Birch-Jones who had the job of implementation of all the modifications into the course - and then housing the whole thing in its new location. 


Profiling Canada’s Squash Officials

Vol. 4: Sofia Navadeh

Say hello to Sofia Navadeh, one of Canada’s National refs and a new member of the Squash Canada Officiating Committee. Sofia was born and raised in Tehran, Iran, where she was always active in sports as a youngster. She studied physical education in university in Iran, completing her studies in 2006. It was during her undergrad studies that Sofia met a classmate who happened to be a member of Iran’s national squash team! He invited Sofia to come out and watch a match one day, and she was hooked. She remembers that, “at first, squash seemed like a boring sport to watch!” But then she started playing and couldn’t stop. She played three times a week and was training every day. Soon, she was playing in tournaments and her calibre increased so quickly that she eventually won the Iranian university championships.

Still hungry as a player, Sofia graduated to the pro ranks and played on the WISPA, which was then the women’s version of the PSA Tour. Unfortunately, she wasn’t quite as successful in the pro ranks as she was in the amateur ranks, but losing out in the early rounds meant that she had to stick around and ref subsequent rounds. “And I found that I performed better as a ref than a player,” she laughs. Soon, she was reffing often in tournaments in Iran, to the point that she was included as a ref at a PSA event in Iran. This was the beginning of her journey to ever-higher levels of officiating. She began reffing at PSA events across Asia, often as the only female ref. It was when she was reffing at the World Juniors in Chennai, India, that she watched the Canadian junior boys play and thought to herself, That is a country I would like to live in. “It was the way that the teammates were carrying each other through that gave me confidence to be sure about my decision,” she says. She landed in Canada in August 2018, and attended the Nash cup tournament in London, Ontario. After passing the necessary assessments, she became a national referee and is now an important part of Canada’s officiating program.


Sofia, thank you for agreeing to share your experiences with In The Chair!

I am happy to do it!


So, first, tell us what you like most about being a squash ref.

I would say the most exciting thing is that we are a central part of a game and when we do our job right it helps players to perform their best.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve experienced while reffing? 

I was a Referee in India, and a player was injured during the match; I somehow jumped to go to the court; I didn’t see the door, LOL. I thought the door was open. The player said, Hey, ref, I’m okay, don’t worry, but do you need a doctor?!


What is the most dramatic thing you’ve experienced while reffing? 

It was a match in Malaysia (Asian junior championships); a player cried after each point she lost. She was under 13; she got her first game. In the second game, she was behind by 5 points; she stopped and said “I need my mom!”


Do you have a peak moment as a Referee? 

I had two peak moments during my journey. The first one is back in 2017 when I got my first Asia regional assessment in Jordan. The second one is back in 2018 in Canada when I received my Canadian National certificate.  


What changes would you make to officiating structures or systems?

If I could change any structure, I would change the process of being assessed and promoted to the next level of reffing. 


Are there any players you’ve reffed who stand out? And why? 

Camille Serme, Nouran Gohar, Nicole David, Diego Elias, Abdullah Al Tamimi. I like their performance during and then after their match with people. 


If you could say one thing to players with no filters, what would you say to them? 

I would like to say; that how you act in court shows your personality to the audience. And always remember that there is a possibility of being a role model for a junior looking at you. So, make sure how you play and act. Arguing with the Rreferee will never change the decision; focus on your match and performance.


What is the most memorable refereeing decision you made? 

I have one memorable decision, but not in a good way. I issued a Conduct Match against a player for abuse to the Referee, and I’ve never regretted it. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.


Tell us about a difficult match and how you managed to control it? 

There are always going to be matches that do not go smoothly. Being a good Referee is not just about knowing the rules but also how to use the rules to manage players and to use psychological expertise to understand the match and the players’ perspectives.


Is there anything you don’t like about being a ref?

In senior tournaments, I don’t like having to use the Code of Conduct. At the junior level, sometimes the parents of the players don’t act all that well!


Who mentored you when you were starting out?

Srikanth Seshadri, a WSF Referee from India.


What is the best advice you have been given?

The best advice I’ve received is if you do not know the player, when they are in their warm-up time, have a look at their swing to understand if they have an exaggerated swing during the match. 


What advice would you give to emerging Referees?

Participate in tournaments as much as they can and sit beside experienced Referees as a marker or even watch them to give them a better perspective of situations and how to manage the match.  


How can we get people interested in being a Referee?

From my point of view, for some provincial tournaments, we should use a 2-Referee system instead of one Referee. In this situation, they would have more chances to experience and learn, which I did for myself. I’ve volunteered in many tournaments because I wanted to learn from national referees. 


Do you have any reflections on how we might get more women into officiating? 

I believe we have plenty of women who would like to be a Referee; they need to have room to be involved. We need more clinics to update them about the rules and practice more.


What are your goals as a Referee? 

I wish squash was in the Olympics, and I could be a Referee. My short-term goal is to be in the tournaments like this. My long-term goal is to be a Referee more at the PSA level.  


What has it been like to referee around the globe? What differences have you noticed in officiating in different regions? 

The most significant difference is that Referees in Asia are stricter than in North America!


Thank you for your time, Sofia. We’ll see you courtside!

I look forward to it. Thank you for the conversation!


So has this been the post-COVID edition of the BTG newsletter – or just another edition amongst the peaks and valleys in the seemingly endless adventure of viral infections? We don’t know, but you can count on us to be there with a spring edition of 2023. That would be a sign that the gods of squash looked down mercifully on us refs who for the most part, are starved of action.


Meanwhile, if you’ve got something to say, email Geoff Johnson (Squash Canada Director of Sport Development) at: geoff.johnson@squash.ca

View BTG Newsletter as Webpage

The SCOC wish to thank Barry Faguy, Geoff Johnson, and Emily Hall for the great work in getting this issue of BTG out!

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