Colombia has pulled out of the WSF World Doubles Championships due to visa issues ©WSF

The Colombian Squash Federation said it had been left "absolutely devastated" over its withdrawal from the upcoming World Squash Federation (WSF) World Doubles Championships in Scotland due to its failure to secure visas.

Matias Knudsen and Ronald Palomino were set to represent Colombia in the men’s doubles at the tournament, scheduled to run from tomorrow until Saturday (April 9) at the Scotstoun Leisure Centre in Glasgow.

But Sergo Becerra, head of the Colombian Squash Federation, has sent a letter, obtained by insidethegames, to WSF President Zena Wooldridge confirming the team’s withdrawal.

The British Embassy’s failure to respond to the governing body’s visa applications was cited by Becerra as the reason for their decision to pull out.

"Our institution is dejected and absolutely devastated to have to make this decision, however despite applying for visas with more than the required time, and making several follow ups, the British Embassy is yet to give us any response to our application, no visas have been issued for our player," Becerra wrote.

Becerra said the devastating blow had raised concerns over future decisions made by the WSF over the staging of events after claiming that it had "lost a significant amount of money" following the cancellation of last year’s Men’s World Team Squash Championships.

That event was due to be held in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia last November only to be called off by the WSF after Malaysian authorities refused to issue visas to players from Israel.

Malaysia and Israel have no diplomatic ties, and Israelis are barred from visiting the country.

The Israel Squash Association had warned that it planned to turn to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if the WSF could not resolve the issue.

Men's world number one Paul Coll of New Zealand headlines the field at the WSF World Doubles Championships ©WSF
Men's world number one Paul Coll of New Zealand headlines the field at the WSF World Doubles Championships ©WSF

"After having lost a significant amount of money to be able to attend the 2021 World Team Championship in Malaysia, this time our federation receives a new blow that demoralises our players and strongly affects our economy, and above all, leaves us worried about the future venues chosen by the WSF for its world events," Becerra wrote.

"Regardless of the numerous emails and communications we sent to both Scottish Squash and WSF warning the delay, no positive actions were taken, and we never get our visas on time.

"Furthermore, the Embassy was not even aware the tournament existed and they have never received any communication from Scottish Squash or UK Sport, which led us clueless.

"After last year’s incident, we really hoped host nations would have been required to get their Government endorsements on visa release to host an event, but unfortunately it seems this has not been the case.

"The guarantees should not only be for Israel, must be for all WSF members, and if not able to provide them, nations such as Scotland or in this case United Kingdom should not be awarded sports events.

"Affected and hoping that this message and situation will serve to fix this type of situation in the future."

Egypt is also a notable absentee from the line-up in Glasgow, but no reason has been given for the nation's absence.

New Zealand is expected to be in the mix for medals at the events with the Kiwi mixed doubles and women’s doubles teams named as top seeds.

Scotland's squash team will hope to deliver home success in Glasgow ©WSF
Scotland's squash team will hope to deliver home success in Glasgow ©WSF

Men’s world number one Paul Coll and women’s world number five Joelle King are set to challenge for top honours in the mixed doubles having triumphed in both 2016 and 2017.

India’s Saurav Ghosal and Dipika Pallikal Karthik and England’s Adrian Waller and Alison Waters are also contenders along with Australia’s Zac Alexander and Donna Lobban with the latter looking to retain the mixed doubles crown achieved in 2019 alongside Cameron Pilley.

With Colombia pulling out, 22 teams are set to participate in the men’s doubles where England are favourites to clinch gold.

Declan James and James Willstrop are top seeds as England aim to win their first World Doubles Championships title since 1997, while compatriots Daryl Selby and Adrian Waller are second seeds.

The women’s draw consists of 12 teams following the withdrawal of Canada due to injury.

King and Amanda Landers-Murphy will be hoping to win their third and New Zealand’s fifth title in the event.

Seeded to meet them in the final are England’s Sarah-Jane Perry and Alison Waters, with India’s Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal Karthik and Malaysia’s Rachel Arnold and Sivasangari Subramaniam seeded third and fourth, respectively.

Competition is due to start tomorrow.

insidethegames has contacted the WSF for comment.