Qatari investment set to propel padel to new heights as lavish prize money is confirmed

Tia Norton World Padel Tour

Padel is set to be propelled into a new stratosphere after the prize money for the first event of the new world tour was confirmed, with €525,000 up for grabs at each tournament.

The International Padel Federation (FIP) has agreed and a new global strategic partnership with QSI, the investment group behind several world-leading sports brands and businesses based in Qatar.

This investment has the potential to propel padel at a rapid pace, with plans to push for the sport to be included in the 2028 Olympics Games part of a strategy by FIP and QSI to spread the padel message to a wide audience.

Padel has been described as a cross between tennis and squash, played on a court surrounded by a heavy-duty glass that allows players to hit the ball after it bounces back off the wall.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is a big fan of the sport, as is former Chelsea captain John Terry and British Olympic hero Denise Lewis has also confirmed she is a lover of padel, with that level of star backing convincing Castle the sport is ready to take off in the UK and around the world.

As is often the case when at the start of a sporting revolution, the padel’s old guard are fighting to halt the progress being offered by the sport’s governing body and backed by the Professional Players Association (PPA).

That has resulted in organisers of the long-established World Padel Tour looking to halt the progress of the new venture, with a court filing issued bt FIP with the European Commission aiming to release players from their commitment to the World Padel Tour (WPT) and allowing them to also compete in the QSI-backed events.

“This legal action at the European Commission by the Federation and the Professional Players Association is unprecedented,” said Luigi Carraro, President of the FIP.

“It highlights in the clearest terms WPT’s abusive and exploitative monopoly regime, which has held padel players under its grip for years – insulting the professional athletes and stifling the global growth and ambition of the sport. The fact this action has been forced to be brought in the first place is a shocking indictment, in of itself.

“Private, closed, commercially-exploitative and unregulated leagues – that imprison the professional players – have absolutely no place in modern professional sport.

“The reaction we have received since the new Official tour launched, only two weeks ago, is absolutely astonishing. From host cities to international broadcasters to major sponsors and other commercial partners – including some of the biggest brands and names in sport.

“We are delighted to open the Official new tour in Doha on 28 March, in what will be the greatest tournament ever hosted in padel. We’re also delighted to reveal the prize money for category 1 tournaments, together with our new ranking points system. Never ever have we had such excitement around our sport, nor such a positive and professional future for our players.”

The new FIP World Tour has also received backing from the Board of Directors of the Professional Players Association (PPA), with the prize money on offer set to take the game to new level of excellence for the game’s top stars.

“The fact professional padel players have taken this case all the way to the European Commission – simply to defend their freedom to play padel – speaks volumes,” read a statement from the PPA.

“For years under WPT and detached from the Federation, professional players have been treated as assets, not athletes – with many players barely able to cover their costs. It shouldn’t take the European Commission to free the players and the sport of padel from this sorry situation, but the players will take whatever action needed to defend their livelihoods and to develop a better future for padel.”

Significantly, the new tour is the only Official tour in padel under the governance and regulation of FIP, having the benefit of FIP’s Official player ranking system, and falling within the auspices of the wider international sports community including the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“The new padel world tour is a huge moment for our sport,” declared Britain’s best young padel star Tia Norton, speaking to Tennis365 in her role as a Game4Padel ambassador.

“The investment from Qatar has the potential to take the sport to a whole new level around the world and that is what we all want. We want to get the message out there because when people see padel, I think they will enjoy it.”

The court battles may rage for some time between padel’s old guard and the bold new pioneers leading its future, but this is a sport set to explode in exciting fashion in the upcoming weeks and months.