KUALA LUMPUR: Badminton Asia believe the Badminton World Federation's (BWF) decision to ban Malaysian shuttlers Tan Chun Seang and Zulfadli Zulkiffli for match-fixing, is a strong message to the badminton fraternity.
In a statement issued by the world governing body on Wednesday, Chun Seang is banned from the sport for 15 years while Zulfadli received a 20-year ban for violation of the BWF's Code of Conduct in Relation to Betting, Wagering and Irregular Match Results.
The two professional players have also been fined US$15,000 (RM59,000) and US$25,000 (RM98,000) respectively by a BWF Ethics Hearing Panel.
In reaching their decision following a two-day hearing in Singapore in February, the three-member independent panel found Chun Seang guilty of committing 26 violations of the 2012 Code of Conduct in Relation to Betting Wagering and Irregular Match Results while Zulfadli committed 27 violations of the 2012 Code of Conduct in Relation to Betting Wagering and Irregular Match Results and four violations of the 2016 Code of Conduct in Relation to Betting Wagering and Irregular Match Results.
The panel noted that both the players had engaged in corruption offences over a significant period and a significant number of tournaments dating back to 2013, but that Zulfadli had committed more violations over a longer timeframe than Chun Seang, and had manipulated the results of four matches.
Badminton Asia chief operating officer Kenny Goh, when contacted, said: "I believe this is a very strong message from the BWF to the whole badminton fraternity. Some may say it's harsh, but from Badminton Asia's point of view, we will monitor the case closely, so we will know how to handle it accordingly in the future.
"As this case is the first of its kind, the BWF must have looked into all details before making this decision."
On whether the Asian body would assist both the players in their appeals, Kenny said: "I think this is solely up to the players and perhaps the national organisation (BA of Malaysia).
"However, personally, I believe the players should appeal as they may be able to do something about it."
The suspensions for Chun Seang and Zulfadli, a former world junior champion, start from Jan 12 this year – the date on which both players were provisionally suspended by the BWF.
Under Clause 14 of the BWF Judicial Procedures, Chun Seang and Zulfadli have the right to appeal.