Badminton Life

BWF Out to Prevent Thrown Matches in Thomas and Uber Cups

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) is set to change the format for the Thomas and Uber Cup men's and women's team events in order to stop countries trying to throw matches for their benefit.

This year's event in Jakarta in May was marred when the South Korean team admitted that their main aim was not to win their group so they can avoid strong opposition in the knock-out stages.

In their preliminary group, they lost to England and Malaysia, although they still qualified for the knock-out phase because of the nature of the format.

The top team in each of the three-team groups earn a bye to the quarter-finals while the other two teams play in elimination matches to qualify for the last eight.

The system allowed South Korea to reach the final of the Thomas Cup, though they were beaten by top-seeded China in the final.

The BWF secretary general Stuart Borrie said spectators were cheated of a true spectacle, especially in the early rounds because some teams were not trying hard.

He said the current rules had to be changed and BWF is working on a new strategy to make future tournaments more exciting and without the temptation to throw matches.

One of the possibilities is to have another draw half-way through the tournament.

"We cannot blame the coaches or the team managers. There was a set of rules and the teams merely saw the opportunity of making the best use of them," Borrie was quoted as saying in the Malaysian media.

"The BWF and their members want this to be reviewed. We are looking at having a draw process halfway through the finals to ensure that teams do not get the chance to deliberately lose their ties."

Another concern of the BWF is that teams are not fielding their best teams in the tournament, which is one of the most prestigious events on the calendar.

This year the practice was particularly noticeable with the Beijing Olympics only three months after the tournament.

"We are also concerned that England did not have their best team for the last finals as they wanted to focus on the Beijing Olympics," said Borrie.

"The Thomas-Uber Cup finals should be the stage for a team to showcase their best. All these will be looked into at the next executive meeting."

The meeting is set to be held in Lausanne, Switzerland next month.

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