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BWF Wants Different System to Prevent Teams from Throwing Matches

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) may introduce a new format for the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup to prevent teams from throwing matches following the controversy surrounding the South Korean men's team.

The world governing body is considering having only the top team from four groups advancing to the semi-finals with the rest playing in classification matches.

At the recent event in Jakarta, all three teams from each of the four groups were still able to compete after the round-robins, with the bottom team facing a longer play-off route.

This system was exploited by South Korea, which deliberately lost to Malaysia and England in their group matches so they could face Denmark - and not China - in the quarter-finals.

South Korea eventually reached the final, where they lost 3-1 to China.

Punch Gunalan, BWF deputy president, said the current format was aimed at promoting the sport but teams were misusing it.

"I don't blame South Korea for fielding a weaker team for their group matches. Any strong team will do it if they have a chance," Gunalan said just days before he was ousted at a BWF annual general meeting.

"We introduced the current format in the 2004 Jakarta edition to give a chance for smaller nations to play in the event. However, with the latest development, we now need to sit and talk about changing the format."

South Korea are the only team to have admitted throwing matches by fielding weaker teams. The Koreans then put out their strongest teams in the play-offs.

In the Uber Cup, second seeds Japan fielded a weaker team in their 3-2 defeat to the Netherlands so they would not have to face China.

Gunalan added: "We wanted teams to play at least three ties and there were no complaints until now. However with the latest development, we now need to sit and talk about changing the format."

The latest controversy once again brought the practice of match-fixing to the fore in badminton.

In March, Chinese coach Li Yongbo admitted that China fixed the semi-final of the 2004 Athens Olympics so that Zhang Ning would beat Zhou Mei and reach the final. Zhang eventually won the gold in Athens.

At last month's Asian Championships in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, world number one Lin Dan was easily beaten by his compatriot Chen Jin in the semi-finals of the men's singles competition.

Chen's victory meant he was able to take his place in the Beijing Olympics as one of the top four players in the world.












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