Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) has completed an acquisition of the World Padel Tour (WPT) and is set to merge it with its own Premier Padel series – thus giving it effectively full ownership of the top-tier echelons of the sport.
The state-backed QSI fund unveiled today (August 24) that an agreement has been reached with the organizers of the WPT, Damm, leading to the series’ unification.
Premier Padel will be run by QSI but will be governed by the International Padel Federation (FIP).
A potential merger was first mooted in May.
The separate tours will continue their respective schedules as planned until the end of 2023 before they combine under the Premier Padel heading next year.
The agreement also means “the resolution of all outstanding disputes between the parties” – bringing to an end an intense period of legal wrangling.
In a statement, QSI chair Nasser Al-Kheilaifi said: “This is a historic moment for the sport of padel, ultimately seeing the two leading professional padel tours unified as one single global Premier Padel tour.
“As the fastest-growing sport globally, QSI is proud to be at the heart of driving the development of padel professionally all around the world, always placing the players at the center of our mission to grow the sport everywhere.”
Demetrio Carceller Arce, executive chair at Damm, added: “The World Padel Tour is now beginning a new stage led by QSI, who will contribute to speeding up the tour’s international growth. Damm is proud to have contributed to the development of professional padel, making the World Padel Tour a global benchmark, with over 4 million followers.”
The agreement comes after the two tours agreed to begin talks in January alongside the FIP and Professional Padel Association (PPA) players union for the international promotion of the sport.
The move was seen as a truce between the two tours after almost a year of legal wrangling, opening the door to future collaborations.
The two organizations had been at loggerheads since February 2022 when QSI partnered with the FIP to create Premier Padel as a rival to the pre-existing WPT. At the time, the FIP claimed Premier Padel would be “the only official tour in the sport of padel” and “the only official tour under the governance and regulation of the FIP.”
Now, however, 18 months of legal dispute has come to an end, subject to the “customary regulatory approvals."
The 2023 WPT season is staging 27 tournaments across 13 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Buenos Aires, and Mexico. Other countries hosting events include Spain, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, France, and Sweden.
Premier Padel, meanwhile, is staging eight events for the 2023 season in Qatar, Italy, Spain, France, Egypt, Mexico, and Argentina.