The pullout of England over security concerns might be a one-off incident, but the Badminton World Federation (BWF) is concerned about the high rate of withdrawals from international tournaments, including the ongoing World Championship, and will be devising ways to curb the problem.
“The BWF executive board and events committee will meet over the next two days here and the number of withdrawals would be a major point of discussion,” said BWF event chairperson Paison Rangsikitpho.
In the World Championship, there have been 21 withdrawals between the draw ceremony and the start of the tournament, resulting in too many walkovers in the opening round.
Players withdrawing after the release of draws has become a regular phenomenon and the BWF had reacted by slapping a ‘withdrawal fee’ of $250 (Rs 12,000). But sources say players prefer to pay the fee than spend money on travel and boarding. One school of thought is to progressively increase the penalty for every withdrawal in a calendar year and a player should face a disciplinary hearing if he or she withdraws three times in a year.
But the Badminton Players Federation wants the apex body to structure the withdrawal fee based on individual rankings, since some of the lesser-known players cannot afford to pay heavy fines.
The events committee will also discuss the qualification criteria for the 2012 London Olympics, said Rangsikitpho. “Though the final decision will be taken at the BWF executive council meeting in November, the two-day meeting should kick-start the process,” he added.
16 teams in top group for Sudirman Cup?
Rangsikitpho, who also heads the committee that will decide the new format for the Sudirman Cup, said the panel was in favour of doing away with the tier system. “There is no point in having a lopsided contest by allowing everyone to play for the title. Consensus is emerging on increasing the number of teams in the top group from 8 to 16 and then having more relegations and promotions,” he said.