Relive all the key moments of a story that ends with Premier Padel as the dominant professional circuit after the redemption of World Padel Tour by Qatar Sports Investments.
2013: the beginnings of World Padel Tour
Le padel professional has been in the hands of the Damm group since 2013. The alliance it forged with the players, through the former Association of Professional Players of padel (AJPP), allowed him to launch the World Padel Tour and replace the old one Padel Pro Tour (PPT).
Since then, Setpoint Events, a Damm company, managed the competition and allowed the sport to develop at breakneck speed.
September 2018: new WPT contract with players
After the unsuccessful attempt to Fabrice Pastor to recover the players with a new circuit (International Padel Tower), the World Padel Tour renews its contractual link with the players for a period of five years, until December 31, 2023.
The new contract protects the competition against possible external threats and almost does not allow players to participate in other competitions.
February 2021: the FIP and the WPT renew their agreement on the unified ranking
La International Federation of padel and World Padel Tour renew their agreement which, since 2019, has established a unified ranking. FIP Tour competitions will award points valid for the professional circuit.
October 2021: the birth of the PPA
Following the disappearance of the Professional Players Association of padel (AJPP) in 2014, players spent almost eight years without a collective body representing their interests.
At the beginning of October 2021, the Professional Padel Association (Professional association of padel) or PPA is created. It is a collective chaired by Alejandro Galán in first instance who counts on its board of directors Pablo Lima as vice-president, in addition to an office composed of Paquito Navarro, Maxi Sánchez, Fernando Belasteguin, Miguel Semmler and José Carlos Gaspar.
The creation of the PPA results from a possible renewal of the contractual link with the World Padel Tour. The goal is to approach negotiations as a collective and not from an individual point of view.
November 2021: the embryo of Premier Padel in Qatar
We don't know it yet at this time, but the World Cup padel in Doha will change a lot of things.
Indeed, during the competition, the president of Qatar Sports Investment, Nasser Al Khelaifi, gets closer to certain professional players and the president of the FIP, Luigi Carraro. These meetings are the first germ of the circuit Premier Padel.
Ten days after the World Cup, the World Padel Tour organizes a presentation of its future intentions at a meeting attended by three members of the PPA board of directors.
December 2021: the FIP requests the intervention of the IOC
The President of the FIP, Luigi Carraro, send a letter to International Olympic Committee in which he denounces the difficulties posed by World Padel Tour on “our path towards the development and global growth of our precious sporting discipline”. The Italian criticizes the situation of exclusivity between the circuit and the players. He assures : “we have come to the conclusion that the International Federation of padel must take charge of the organization of the international activity of padel".
Luigi therefore asks the IOC for advice and support.
Meanwhile, World Padel Tour offers players a new contractual scenario with a substantial increase in prize money.
January 2022: the big movements begin
Two months after the meetings in Qatar, the alliance of Al Khelaifi and the FIP to promote a new professional circuit of padel is already more than a possibility and is starting to circulate in the media.
Le World Padel Tour speeds up to try to get the players to sign new contracts but relations between the PPA board of directors deteriorate.
In a letter signed by president Alejandro Galán, the players speak of the need for the future development of the sport to occur “under the aegis and protection of the International Federation of padel (FIP) (…) and under the aegis of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)”.
Galán's letter to the players coincides with the missive Carraro sent to the IOC in December.
For its part, the Damm circuit presents its new competition calendar on January 21. It increases to 24 tournaments (compared to 17 in 2021) spread across 13 countries. This is the WPT's response to criticism of its over-reliance on Spain as the venue for its competitions.
The advance of the start of the season to February 22 and the numerous dates make it difficult for another circuit to be able to count on the players that year.
February 2022: the new circuit is a reality
February 1, FIP, Qatar Sports Investments and PPA officially announce the creation of a new professional circuit of padel. The freedom and protection of the International Federation of padel are the two keys to the announcement.
The two entities are working quickly on the image of the circuit and, above all, on the logistics of the first event that they are announcing in Doha.
Le World Padel Tour warns players through a letter that there could be sanctions of up to 500 euros for those who do not respect signed contractual agreements, including the inability to participate in other competitions on the dates of WPT tournaments and periods of blackout, before and after these events on the Damm circuit.
The response from the FIP and the PPA Players Association, which is turning to the European Commission, is not long in coming. The two entities accuse Setpoint Events, the organizer of the World Padel Tour, to prevent competition and to practice abuse of position.
The PPA sends a letter to World Padel Tour in which she expresses her dissatisfaction with the decision not to count the points of the FIP Tour circuit for the WPT ranking and denounces the granting of a wild-card to the promoter of the first tournament of the year in Miami. The complaint is raised with the Superior Sports Council.
At the same time, the players organized themselves into an IPPA association (International Association of Women's Players padel), chaired by Lucia Sainz, with Gemma Triay, Nuria Rodríguez, Marta Talaván, Delfi Brea, Patty Llaguno and Alejandra Salazar to the board of directors.
March 2022: birth of the brand Premier Padel
On March 8, on the occasion of International Women's Day, the World Padel Tour announces that it is harmonizing men's and women's prices for the first time. (A desire to establish parity which will not last since in November the circuit makes a new proposal in which men again earn more than women).
In the middle of the month, the naming of the new FIP and QSI circuit, Premier Padel, as well as its graphic identity, are revealed. In addition, it is announced that the first tournament, the Qatar Major, scheduled from March 28 to April 1, will distribute a total of 525 euros in prizes, a record.
A few days before the start of the first appointment of Premier Padel, World Padel Tour files a complaint with the Civil and Commercial Court of Arbitration (CIMA) to defend its rights arising from the contractual relationship with the players. The procedure is divided into two: on the one hand, it includes the first 20 in the ranking, and on the other hand, those beyond the 21st position.
The overall economic claim is around 25 million euros.
The players via the PPA respond publicly to the measure with a press release in which they speak of pressure and emphasize that they will remain united. Players like Paquito Navarro, Sanyo Gutiérrez, Juan Tello or Franco Stupaczuk also react with messages on their social networks in which they reinforce the idea of unity.
The celebration of the Qatar Major takes place with the participation of the vast majority of players who therefore do not respect the contract with the World Padel Tour.
May 2022: World Padel Tour takes legal action
Le World Padel Tour seeks allies and appeals to the Spanish Federation of padel with whom he signed a collaboration agreement which gave shape to a new category of tournaments, the WPT Next, a lower category.
The PPA criticizes the federative entity for its alliance with a company which maintains open procedures against players.
At the same time, in addition to arbitration procedures, resorts to the judicial route by filing a lawsuit in one of the Commercial Courts of Madrid (CIMA) against FIP, QSI and PPA.
Premier Padel qualifies the initiative of World Padel Tour of “desperate action”.
June 2022: reformulation of the procedure
Several formal defects require World Padel Tour to rethink the procedures initiated, both at CIMA and through commercial channels, which leads to the restart of these processes.
July 2022: the WPT signs with Álex Corretja
In order to make relations with players more flexible, the World Padel Tour integrates ex-tennis player Álex Corretja as deputy to the presidency. Now he is responsible for communications with athletes.
October 2022: new proposal for the World Padel Tour
The circuit World Padel Tour invites the players, separately, to an event to present a new circuit proposal in the presence of the president of the WPT, Ramón Agenjo and Álex Corretja. It takes place on October 18 in Menorca, during the WPT tournament which takes place there
The PPA board of directors is not present at the meeting and recommends other players not to come. The players maintain they will not sit down with the circuit until it withdraws the lawsuits and demand that it recognize the association as the players' point of contact for potential negotiations.
Very few players attend the meeting. The players, on the other hand, are very present.
A week later, the professional circuit itself asked CIMA to suspend the proceedings against the players for three months because, according to the WPT, a “negotiation process” had been launched with them.
November 2022: legal setback
Le World Padel Tour announces the first five events of the 2023 calendar.
On the other hand, he suffered a stumble in his legal claims. Commercial Court number 15 of Madrid rejects the requested precautionary measures. Therefore Premier Padel is known.
December 2022: girls raise their voices
The IPPA Player Association, for the first time, publicly raises his voice against the World Padel Tour and criticizes the organization's decision to prevent the participation of athletes without a contract in its events.
January 2023: last skirmish and start of dialogue
World Padel Tour announces its calendar for 2023. In total there will be 27 tournaments which will be distributed in 14 countries. In addition, it modifies the typology of the events which it structures into Master, Open 1000 and Open 500.
The PPA announces that it is studying legal measures against World Padel Tour for these new features implemented which, according to her, violate various clauses of the contract with the players. A complaint is sent to the Superior Sports Council.
At the end of the month, le World Padel Tour et Premier Padel announce the start of conversations aimed at resolving the situation.
March 2023: players sign with Premier Padel
After a year of hesitation, the players took the plunge and signed with Premier Padel. The premiere of the women's competition of the circuit financed by QSI takes place in Rome.
May 2023: agreement in principle
Qatar Sports Investments and Damm reach a principle of agreement which results in a first MOU (Memorandum of understanding).
July 2023: resignation of Galán
August 2023: definitive acquisition agreement
There is a definitive agreement. QSI acquires the World Padel Tour in Damm, which means that in 2024, there will only be one circuit: Premier Padel.
This resolution also puts an end to all open legal proceedings and ten years of activity for the World Padel Tour. The circuit managed by Estrella Damm will have greatly contributed to the popularity of this sport, featuring the best players in the world.
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