The PSA Challenger Tour has been largely limited to domestic events due to the coronavirus pandemic ©PSA

The Professional Squash Association (PSA) has announced the launch a new grant scheme designed to increase the amount of international Challenger Tour events in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The PSA confirmed it had awarded more than 15 grants totalling $55,000 (£38,926/€45,217) to tournaments from nine countries to kickstart the return of global events to the circuit.

Until last month's HCL SRFI Indian Tour - Chennai Leg 1, the Challenger Tour had been limited to domestic events since the initial six-month suspension of the PSA Tour between March and September in 2020.

The PSA say its grant scheme allows promoters to apply for up to $2,500 (£1,769/€2,053) per division for international Challenger Tour 30 events and below which can be used towards operational costs or prize money.

"The global COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on the PSA Challenger Tour and we believe that our new grant scheme will give some much-needed support to tournament promoters as we look to create a thriving professional circuit," said PSA chief executive Alex Gough.

"Creating greater playing and earning opportunities for our players lower down the rankings has been a key objective for us since before the pandemic and the outlook for international Challenger Tour events is looking very positive.

"I’d like to thank our tournament promoters for engaging with us throughout this process and we look forward to working with them as we bring about the return of international events on the Challenger Tour."

The Scottish Squash Open, scheduled to take place in September in Inverness, is one of the tournaments that is due to benefit from the grant scheme.

"We're very grateful that the PSA is further supporting the 2021 Springfield Scottish Squash Open with this grant," said tournament promoter Allan McKay.

"As we build up to September's event, the additional funding will go a long way towards ensuring we can give players and spectators alike the best possible squash experience and help grow our sport across the Highlands.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has had a real impact across squash and sporting events, which is undoubtedly going to add increased costs to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

"The additional support from the PSA will ensure we can maximise safety measures should spectators be permitted come September."