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Sunday, December 21, 2008

BWF move to end match-fixing and last-minute withdrawals

The Star reported this incident.

THE Badminton World Federation (BWF) have taken two drastic measures to prevent no shows by players in international tournaments and match-fixing in the Thomas-Uber Cup Finals. Players will now have to pay hefty fines if they withdraw from BWF-sanctioned tournaments after confirming their entries. Pre­viously, a fine of US$250 is imposed for a last-minute withdrawal.

Now, if a player withdraws from three tournaments in a season, they will be fined an additional US$1,000. Withdrawal for a fourth time will see the case going before the discipline board with suspension among the punishments.The new ruling takes effect from the Malaysian Open scheduled for Jan 6-11 at the Putra Stadium.

The BWF event chairman, Paisan Rangsikitpho, said yesterday that they have had enough of players abusing the system. “There will be no exceptional to the new rule. A player who withdraws his entry after the closing date will be fined. This is a decision of the BWF Council. We will not accept any reasons, including injuries,” said Paisan at a press conference.

Paisan said that China’s withdrawal of all their players from the Super Series Masters Finals had put the sport in a bad light. “But this was a good lesson for us to deal with the matter seriously. We will review the rules to ensure that a similar incident will not be repeated. We are exploring the possibility of having players sign contract for the Super Series,” he said.

As for the Thomas-Uber Cup Finals, Paisan said that a new format for the championships would be introduced when Malaysia host the next world team event for both men and women in 2010.
The old format gave teams opportunities to deliberately throw ties to choose the opponents they wanted to play in the subsequent rounds.

South Korea took full advantage of the rule in this year’s Finals in Jakarta to set up a Thomas Cup semi-final tie against Denmark instead of China. “This time, only the top two teams from the four groups will advance to the quarter-finals. Only the top two seeds will be separated and the rest go into an open draw,” said Paisan.

“Previously, all the three teams in each group advance to the knockout stage, where their positions were already fixed.” Paisan added that the BWF were also looking at limiting the maximum entry in an event to two for the Olympics and discard the different divisions in the Sudirman Cup world mixed team championship. Previously, a country is allowed to have a maximum of three players at the Olympics if all of them are ranked in the top four and China had benefited greatly from it.

“In order to maintain our status as an Olympic sport, we want more countries to get a chance to compete in the Games,” he said. As for the Sudirman Cup, every participating team get a shot at winning the title. Previously, only the six teams in Division One are in the championship race. Meanwhile, the BWF were given a shot in the arm with with Yonex Sunrise extending their sponsorship contract for another four years until 2012. "

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