ESF European Team Championships set for change in 2025

The 2025 ESF European Team Championships will see Division 1 men’s and women’s events expanded to 12 teams and the potential addition of a Division 4.

The changes, approved at the ESF’s AGM in Zurich earlier this month, mean that the nations who finished in the top four in men’s and women’s Division 2 at the ETC earlier this month will be promoted to Division 1 next year.

So Scotland and Hungary, who were men’s Division 2 finalists in Zurich, will be joined in Division 1 in 2025 by Israel and Belgium, who finished third and fourth respectively. In the women’s competition, Germany and Finland will be joined by Poland and Denmark in the top tier next year.

This year’s women’s ESF European Team Division 2 winners Germany

In the event of withdrawals from Division 1 (men and women), teams from Division 2 will be promoted in rank order to fill the vacant places.

Division 2, meanwhile, will be reduced to eight teams in 2025 for both men and women. In the men’s draw for 2025, the teams who finished 5th to 10th this year will remain and Romania and Italy (finalists in April’s ESF European Team Division 3 Championships) will join them. Portugal and Slovakia will be relegated to Division 3.

In women’s Division 2, teams who finished 5th to 9th in Zurich will remain and the top three finishers from this year’s Division 3 Championships (Ireland, Ukraine and Italy) will be promoted.

In the event of a withdrawal or promotion from Division 2, the top four teams from Division 3 will be invited in rank order to fill the vacant place.

A further significant change for 2025 will see a change to the format of Division 3 and the possible creation of a Division 4.

The ESF have now set a maximum of 15 teams per category in Division 3. When there are 16 teams or more entered, the event will automatically be split into a Division 3 of eight teams and the remainder in a new Division 4.

Italy men's squash
Italy were 2024 ESF European Team Division 3 men’s title winners

Both ETCs will remain in their set positions on the calendar, with Division 1 and 2 organised together as one event on the reserved date and Division 3 (4) held in the weeks beforehand.

These changes to the formation of the ETC were first proposed at the ESF’s 2023 AGM in Helsinki in response to a perceived narrowing of the level between the top 16 teams over the last decade. This meant strong nations could find themselves relegated if they were missing one or two key players.

Mika Monto, Executive Director of the Finnish Squash Association, who originally tabled the motion, said it could be “frustrating and demotivating” for teams to wait two years for the chance to challenge for a medal again following relegation.

The resulting changes to the competition’s format were proposed by the ESF Management Board at the 52nd AGM on 4 May and recommended by the Championships Committee after broad consultation by a working group.

ESF President Thomas Troedsson said: “We believe these changes will make for a stronger and more competitive competition format across all the divisions. Having enjoyed such a successful ETC in Zurich earlier this month, we look forward to seeing the impact of these changes next year.”