Very interesting theme: a renowned Spanish general media outlet – in this case El Pais – covers the subject “Premier Padel / A1 Padel", considering that Fabrice Pastor is a rival for Nasser al-Khelaïfi for the control of padel .
Let us recall the context: by buying back the World Padel Tour, Premier Padel has somehow won the “war” between these two circuits. A1 Padel on the other hand, does it intend to continue its journey in 2024, unless we see a rapprochement soon?
Premier Padel vs. A1 Padel ?
Premier Padel therefore absorbs the WPT and will become the reference circuit in 2024, in the sense that the best players on the planet will participate in its tournaments. But A1 Padel, which became the first professional tour to hold a tournament in New York, also intends to continue growing, and to attract in the future certain big names in the padel global. From there to overshadowing the circuit financed by QSI as estimated by El Pais?
One thing seems certain, in this possible “confrontation” between the two professional circuits, the International Federation of Padel seems completely ruled out. And besides, for Fabrice Pastor, the President of A1 Padel, It is not a coincidence : “The FIP will, as always, follow the most influential, it has already demonstrated this in the past by suddenly turning its back on World Padel Tour. And we know why!”, declares the one who currently organizes the New York Grand Master. Before going further by declaring that the FIP uses methods which “are not very formal”.
As you have understood, the relationship between those in charge of the International Federation and the Monegasque is not the best there is...
What is the point for the FIP in pushing the two circuits to come closer together?
What Fabrice Pastor denounces here is in particular that through its President Luigi Carraro and its Vice-President Diego Miguel Miller Vidal, it is capitalistically linked to the private circuit Premier Padel.
We can think that this is a good thing, in the sense that the FIP can thus keep a certain control over Premier Padel. But is this really the case? We were unable to obtain more details despite our questions to the current President of the FIP, Luigi Carraro who explained to us in 2022 at Roland Garros that the details of the relationships and shares of the FIP in Premier Padel “is confidential information” : “maybe we will say it, but I prefer that the 3 parties say it together.”
Regardless, FIP seems at the moment busy with Premier Padel and preparation for 2024, and never mentions A1 Padel, which certainly appears to its President Luigi Carraro as a secondary circuit. But by giving visibility to our sport, by giving young players the opportunity to become professionals, and by going to countries or continents where the padel is not yet very well known (South Africa among others), A1 undeniably contributes to the growth of padel in the world, which the FIP will not be able to ignore forever.
Fabrice Pastor ready to get closer to Premier Padel ?
Obviously, for fans of padel, and the players – including a certain Juan LeBron – the ideal would therefore be that A1 Padel is included in the official FIP calendar, and that the padel professional has a unified classification.
We're not there yet, but we say to ourselves that if Premier Padel wants to try to find an agreement with A1 Padel, then the FIP will likely follow suit, just as it did when Premier Padel got closer and then absorbed the WPT. Overnight, all of the FIP's criticisms and denunciations of the WPT evaporated. “This is pure politics” some professional players assure us.
The door may seem open on Fabrice Pastor's side but only with Premier Padel, he who believes that the FIP is “a federation to clean up”. According to him, this federation is led by "thugs" and she “will change position as soon as it perceives that the wind is changing”. According to our sources, the World Padel Tour more or less shared this opinion on the FIP and would have dealt mainly with Premier Padel, the FIP having naturally followed suit.
Today, A1 Padel, caused a sensation in New York, traveled to territories where until then there had never been a professional tournament padel, finds partnerships with heavyweights like the Yankees or Stan Wawrinka, and its President is very critical of the International Federation and its President.
Enough to shade the tandem Premier Padel / FIP? Not necessarily so obvious. But if it is very likely that the two circuits will each continue their expansion by capitalizing on the successes they are already experiencing initially, we say to ourselves that there will inevitably come a time when, faced with the will of the whole world of padel to have a unified ranking, with a single calendar, the two parties will try to sit around a table.
Hopefully this will happen soon enough...
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