IN an effort to safeguard badminton from all forms of match manipulation and to keep it free of doping, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Integrity Unit will conduct random interviews with players and coaches, whenever they feel necessary. -- NSTP Archive

IN an effort to safeguard badminton from all forms of match manipulation and to keep it free of doping, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Integrity Unit will conduct random interviews with players and coaches, whenever they feel necessary.

Citing it as standard procedure, the world governing body is not obliged to discuss or reveal anything to anybody at any given time.

This comes after reports emerged last week that two Malaysian shuttlers are being investigated for owing loan sharks huge amounts of money due to gambling.

It is learnt that both players who are from the national men’s doubles department, came clean with the BA of Malaysia (BAM) on their huge debt, alleged to be more than RM500,000.

This caught the attention of BWF, who are said to have called in the shuttlers for questioning.

BWF’s Secretary General, Thomas Lund, however refused to confirm on the matter, saying: “We can’t comment on the integrity unit’s day to day operations, we also cannot confirm if it is true or untrue. That’s standard procedure.

“The reason is not because I do not want to share interesting news with you but its important to protect the integrity of anything we do, and for us to investigate in a confidential manner.

“I hope you understand, because we talk to so many different people all the time and it does not necessarily mean something is wrong but we need to protect our players mainly.”

On a general note, Lund explained that gambling was not the main culprit but the fear of it leading players to potentially manipulate a match was the bigger concern.

As a result, players and coaches, could be called in by BWF just to help with investigations.

“I wouldn’t say gambling is the main issue, gambling alone is not the problem but it is athletes that are potentially involved in manipulating a match for benefits which could be associated with money, we looke at it seriously as we do with doping.

“We have a very comprehensive anti-doping programme where we test our players on a day to day basis.

“With match manipulation, it’s a different approach whereby we interview players and coaches. It doesn’t meant they’ve done anything but we like to hear what’s going on and if there’s anything suspicious, we would look into it.

“We also want the athletes to know that we are watching if there is something irregular.

“We want to protect the clean athletes and we take it very seriously. That is why we do what we do and you will hear from time to time, players getting suspended but that is because they have just gone out of line.”

Last year, in a landmark decision, BWF handed former world junior champion (2011), Zulfadli Zulkiffli, and Tan Chun Seang 20-year and 15-year bans respectively, for match-fixing.

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