By Duncan Mackay

bwf logoNovember 30 - The rules for the Olympics doubles at Rio 2016 have been changed by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) after the match-throwing scandal at London 2012, it was announced today. 

BWF secretary general Thomas Lund claimed that the rule change would "ensure such a regrettable spectacle is never witnessed in badminton again".

The BWF said that in the future, following the group stage, all pairs finishing second in their groups would be placed into a second draw to determine who they face in the knockout phase.

But pairs topping their group stage would have fixed positions equivalent to seeded placings in the knockout stage.

"This will eliminate any player's thoughts about actively trying to lose a match or matches, irrespective of other match results," the BWF said in a statement released in Bangkok, where the ruling Council met.

"Such a draw process can easily and effectively be made just after all group matches have been concluded."

Olympics doubles rules changed for Rio 2016 after match-fixing scandalFour women's doubles pairs were disqualified for match-fixing at London 2012

Eight women's doubles players from South Korea, Indonesia and China were disqualified for trying to lose matches at the London Olympics and manipulate the knockout draw.

But the BWF claimed that it would be difficult to take further action against any members of the players entourage, including the coaches, even though there is widespread belief that they were heavily involved in the scandal.

The Korea Badminton Association initially banned two coaches for life but after an appeal reduced the suspension to two years.

China coach Li Yongbo initially laid the blame for the scandal on himself and apologised, then later said he was taking advantage of the rules and the BWF over-reacted by disqualifying the players.

"It was not a straightforward situation and we could not act hastily or without proof of wrongdoing or unethical behaviour or influence by anyone associated with the said players," the BWF statement said.

"Hence the Disciplinary Committee did not feel there were sufficient grounds to punish the coaches or any of the entourage - underlining that the judicial process taking place had to establish sufficient evidence and live up to common legal principles to also penalise any of the coaches or entourage."

But the BWF has strengthened its rules so that it is now  "explicit that any coach or person within the entourage who encourages players to breach the Players Code of Conduct will be sanctioned by the BWF Disciplinary Committee".

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