The British Open, won last year by Nour El Sherbini and  Mohamed Elshorbagy, will offer equal prize money ©PSA

Equal prize money will be paid to male and female squash players for the first time at next year's British Open, it has been confirmed.

A purse of $150,000 (£121,000/€144,000) will be up for grabs in both the men's and women's draws at the event, which is the oldest squash tournament still running having first been contested in the 1920s.

The tradition of the British Open means that the tournament is considered as one of the most prestigious in squash, and it is subsequently a much sought-after prize.

It becomes the first squash tournament in Britain to offer financial parity to competitors, with four events on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Series now on an equal footing.

The other three tournaments are the US Open, the Windy City Open and the Tournament of Champions.

Professional Squash Association (PSA) chief executive Alex Gough said: "Across the PSA Word Tour we have made great strides towards increasing gender equality since integrating the Women's Tour in 2015 and today's announcement further underlines our commitment to achieving parity.

The British Open, seen here in 2008, is one of squash's most prestigious prizes ©Getty Images
The British Open, seen here in 2008, is one of squash's most prestigious prizes ©Getty Images

"Since the US Open became the first major PSA World Series tournament to achieve parity in 2013 we have been steadily working towards levelling the playing field between men and women. 

"To see the British Open join the US Open, Windy City Open, Tournament of Champions and PSA World Series Finals in offering equal prize money is a great moment for the sport.

"With the 2017 Men's and Women's World Championships, taking place in Manchester In December 2017, also committing to equal prize money we hope these steps will also demonstrate to young girls and aspiring players who want a career in sport that squash offers a genuine opportunity to compete and earn on a level playing field with men."

Next year's British Open will take place at the Airco Arena in Hull between March 19 and 26.

Egyptians Mohamed Elshorbagy and Nour El Sherbini are the defending champions.

"Squash is one of only a few sports in which women and men compete in the same event at the same time, under the same rules, scoring system and size of playing surface," said England Squash's chief executive Keir Worth.

"We’re extremely proud that the 2017 Allam British Open is going to be a showcase for equality in sport as well as for world class squash."