London 2012

Players thrown out

Women's doubles pairs at centre of badminton match-fixing scandal are disqualified

Last Updated: 02/08/12 8:03am

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Disqualified: Four women's double pairs were alleged to have thrown their matches

Disqualified: Four women's double pairs were alleged to have thrown their matches

The four women's doubles pairs at the centre of a match-fixing scandal at the London 2012 Olympic badminton tournament have been disqualified, the Badminton World Federation has confirmed.

The top seeds from China, two pairs from South Korea and another from Indonesia deliberately conceded points in an apparent attempt to lose their matches and manipulate the quarter-final draw.

All eight players had been charged by the BWF with "not using one's best efforts to win a match" and "conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport".

Although both Indonesia and South Korea appealed the decision, the BWF turned the latter country down. Indonesia subsequently withdrew their own appeal.

In a statement issued later, China's delegation said it "fully respected" the decision to disqualify their pair Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli.

"The behaviour by Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli on court violated the Olympics ideal and the spirit of fair competition. The Chinese delegation feels distressed over this matter," the statement read.

The four pairs had been due to play their last-eight matches in Wednesday evening's session at Wembley Arena but the schedule will now be reconstituted.

Their places in the last eight will be taken by the pairs - from Russia, Canada, Australia and South Africa - who finished third and fourth in the qualifying groups concerned.

The fiasco began when top seeds Yu and Wang seemingly tried to engineer defeat against Korea's Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na to avoid finishing top of their group.

That would have kept them in the opposite side of the draw to compatriots Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei.

The Koreans responded by apparently trying to lose themselves, before a second pair from their country, Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung, took the retaliation further by failing to play properly against Indonesia's Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii. In turn, the Indonesians then became involved.

Booed off

The players were booed off court by an irate crowd during the evening session and the BWF launched an investigation.

Several hours later, they announced charges had been made and a disciplinary hearing would take place in the morning.

It is understood the players were being informed of the decision before it was officially announced. The BWF were planning to hold a press conference to communicate their decision.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe has voiced his sadness at the situation.

When asked his feelings, he said: "Depressing. Who wants to sit through something like that?

"The sadness of it is I was actually at the badminton yesterday and I saw a British competitor narrowly fail to progress but the games were incredibly competitive in front of really large enthusiastic audiences - unacceptable.

"I know the (BWF) really well and they will take that really seriously. It is unacceptable."

The decision by the BWF to introduce a group stage rather than hold a straight knockout competition had not been universally popular.

Fears that players could contrive results had even been expressed to tournament referee Thorsten Berg by some teams earlier in the day.

France coach Fabrice Vallet said: "By deciding to organise the tournament with a group section, when you had two doubles pairs of certain countries, it was obvious something like this would happen. It happened.

"During the team managers' meeting I think the Australian team manager asked the question about the situation.

"He was asking for all the matches to be played at the same time to avoid this type of thing."

Commotion

Berg himself became involved in the commotion when he entered the court to disqualify the second Korean pair and the Indonesians but retracted his decision.

The BWF themselves have not had an auspicious Olympics having upset several players on the eve of competition by making wholesale revisions to the playing schedule.

It transpired the governing body had not followed their own regulations for arranging fixtures in group stages.

Speaking at a press conference, BWF Secretary general Thomas Lund defended the decision to play matches in groups.

"The group phase has generally been a tremendous success for this tournament," he said.

"It has created really good matches, really good stories and a lot of matches we have never seen before.

"But we also have to be clear there has been a problem here.

"We need to take that problem very seriously and that will go into the debriefing at the end of these Olympic Games."

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