KUALA LUMPUR: For former national shuttler, Datuk James Selvaraj, the lengthy ban by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Zulfadli Zulkiffli and Tan Chun Seang is not as bad as them shaming their own country.
According to James, the period of the ban is nothing compared to their acts (match-fixing) which have let the nation down.
"This is the first time badminton players are being banned for match-fixing. They were facing a life ban, but were lucky to be let off with 20- (Zulfadli) and 15- (Chun Seang) year bans. To me, their career is over,” said James on Thursday.
The former BAM high performance director said both Zulfadli and Chun Seang cannot be involved in badminton for as long as they are banned.
"They can't do anything, it's over. It's sad for Malaysian badminton, because our country is the first to be linked to this disgraceful culture."
Roslin Hashim, a former national player, feels that the BWF were a little lenient in their sentencing, as the two players are allowed to appeal.
"Twenty years is not a day or two. Even a one-year ban feels like forever. It may seem harsh, but rules are rules. Both players should just accept it.
"This serves as a very strong message and lesson to anyone out there considering such shameful activities. This is no small matter, because our country's image is at stake. When players take to court, they carry our nation's flag and badge, it's not all about them.
"The 20-year ban doesn't surprise me, but as for not being involved in any badminton activity... now that's interesting. These players will have to switch sports to find a new job," said Roslin, a former World No 1.
Former world junior champion Zulfadli, 25, was handed a 20-year ban, while ex-Thomas Cupper, Chun Seang got 15 years for breaching the Code of Conduct in Relation to Betting, Wagering and Irregular Match Results.
Zulfadli and Chun Seang were also slapped with a US$25,000 (RM98,000) and US$15,000 (RM59,000) fines respectively by BWF Ethics Hearing Panel.