Badminton Life

New Format for Thomas and Uber Cups

In a bid to stop teams from trying to set up future opponents, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) said it would tighten rules for the Thomas and Uber Cup finals as well as change the format.

At this year's tournament, in April in Indonesia, South Korea were able to determine who they were playing in the play-offs by deliberately losing matches during the group states.

The South Koreans, who didn't finish in the top two of their preliminary group but still advanced to the play-offs, eventually made it to the final before losing to China.

Only two teams will advance to the knock-out stages from now on, BWF chairman of events Paisan Rangsikitpho told the media. In addition, there will be a draw to discover who plays who in the play-offs.

"From the 2010 Thomas Cup, only the top two teams from each group will make it to the next stage," said Paisan.

"A draw would be fairer to all and no one will have an idea of who awaits them in the second round."

The knockout stage will be such that teams that finish higher during the group stages will enjoy better seedings for the play-offs irrespective of their world rankings.

BWF also want to deter players and countries from pulling out players from tournaments at the eleventh hour with heftier fines.

The current fine of US$250 will still be in force for the first two late withdrawals. A third withdrawal will result in a US$1,000 fine. This applies to all BWF tournaments, whether it is an elite Super Series event or a lesser satellite competition.

Further withdrawals will result in players being reported to the disciplinary committee. Serial offenders may be banned from taking part in BWF events for a certain period of time.

This month's World Super Series Masters Finals was hit by the withdrawal of the entire Chinese team at the last minute, robbing the event of some of its lustre, as well as a host of Olympic champions.

Paisan also insisted that India would still stage the World Championships in Mumbai next year despite the recent terrorist attacks in the city.

"The security of the players is very important and if there are any fears, we will look into alternative venues but as of today, India are still the host," he said.

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