Badminton players who fix matches or illegally bet on games are facing life bans under new regulations revealed by the sport’s worldwide governing body today.
Event staff, referees, volunteers and members of players’ entourages could also be sanctioned with lifetime suspensions after the Badminton World Federation (BWF) unveiled a tougher Integrity Code aimed at rooting out corruption.
Players, confederation officials and referees who have competed in at least three international badminton events have now been banned from placing bets on matches at all levels.
The code, which has been developed for a six-year period according to BWF general secretary Thomas Lund, also allows punishments to be brought against anyone who fails to report knowledge of “of illegal betting, soliciting or other behaviour that is an offence under the Code; to tamper with or destroy evidence; or not to cooperate with investigations by the BWF”.
It follows the BWF strengthening its anti-doping rules in January in the wake of several drugs scandals across a range of sports and comes after alleged evidence of match-fixing among the world’s top tennis players was revealed by the BBC and Buzzfeed earlier this year.
“We now have much stronger powers to gather information under this Code,” Lund said.
“We can demand interviews with anyone in the sport as well as ask those who are alleged to have committed offences to hand over items such as mobile phones, laptops, telephone records.
“This has been an ongoing project to enhance the rules system around match-fixing and brings this system into line with investigations and information-gathering in anti-doping cases.”
Badminton was involved in a high-profile match fixing case at the London 2012 Olympic Games after four women’s doubles pairs were thrown out of the competition for deliberately trying to lose matches in a bid to earn more favourable draws in the next round.
China's former world champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang, Greysia Poli and Meiliana Jauhari of Indonesia and two South Korean pairs, Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na and Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min Jung, were all implicated.
The scandal brought embarrassment on the sport of badminton and the Olympic Games as a whole, with their blatant attempts at cheating prompting furious reactions from the crowd in London, who booed and jeered the players for deliberately playing poorly.
“BWF is committed to clean sport and this Code is for everyone in badminton,” Lund added.
“It covers almost all people associated with our sport and addresses circumstances that have come about with the evolution of badminton.
“The integrity of our sport is clearly a critical area which we take very seriously.
“We have an Integrity Unit and, at the end of last year, we launched an Integrity Campaign which has been unveiling various initiatives to protect and support badminton’s integrity on all levels.
“Having the necessary regulations to tackle integrity issues is a key element in the quest to ensure clean sport.”