Badminton Life

Vaughn Fears for Funding Over Darfur Stance

British badminton player Richard Vaughan fears his funding may be cut if he continues to speak out against China's failure to put pressure on the Sudanese government regarding the humanitarian crisis in Sudan.

Vaughan is a member of a pressure group that wants China, who has close economic links with the Sudanese government, to play a part helping to ease the plight of millions of people in the troubled area of Darfur.

Great Britain's Olympic Committee, the BOA, has warned its athletes against making political statements against China in the run-up to the Olympic Games in Beijing.

That has not stopped Vaughan, however, and he is worried that he may lose some funding.

"I am sure they will not be happy and it will not help my funding situation, but, as a human being, you have to decide what is morally important to you," said Vaughan in an interview posted on

"If you decide human life is more important than money, being threatened with a loss of funding is not very effective."

Vaughan, a winner of six minor international tournaments and a 2004 Olympian in Athens, is still hoping to qualify for the British team for Beijing.

He hopes that the BOA will select players based purely on form rather than their political views.

"I have 100 per cent confidence in the BOA that if I qualify for Beijing, then I will be selected," he said. "The BOA, in my experience, are a very professional sporting body and I am sure they will show diplomacy should any humanitarian crisis raise its head in the build-up to Beijing.

"My funding does not come from the BOA, but any athlete that speaks out could be seen as causing trouble by their sport's performance director.

"Ultimately, it may not be good for any athlete who speaks out, but athletes live or die on results, not on the favour of a performance director."

While Vaughan has been outspoken in his criticism of the Chinese government, he is a lone voice from the British badminton fraternity. Most of the other players, he said, are not aware of how serious the problem in Darfur is.

When asked how his colleagues reacted to his position, Vaughan said: "It's a mixed bag really. Some agree 100 per cent with my stance, while others don't understand.

"They can't appreciate the real scale of the problems in Darfur, where some 300,000 people have died in the past five years."

Vaughan, however, said he will continue to voice his opinions unless he is contractually gagged.

He said: "If asked for my opinions, I will continue to express my views on Darfur. That is unless I am asked to sign a contract that effectively gags me. But I don't think that will happen."

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