The BWF announced today the outcomes of two integrity cases in badminton and published the reasoned decisions of the Independent Hearing Panel (IHP).
The hearings for both cases concluded in late 2020, and the decisions have been communicated to the parties recently.
Both cases involved whistle blowers who reported information to the BWF about corrupt behaviour including approaches to fix a match or to manipulate part of a match play for money.
The information provided by whistle blowers was essential in getting a conviction in the cases. This shows the importance of whistle blowers reporting corrupt behaviour of individuals – see the BWF website for more information on reporting (linked here).
The below is a case summary for the benefit of Members. The full reasoned decision can be downloaded from the website (linked here).
Finally, it is important for the membership to note that these kinds of cases are complex, and investigations, evidence gathering, case preparation and prosecution takes a considerable amount of time, compared to most anti-doping cases. These two investigations and subsequent case preparation, management and judicial processes took more than three years from the initial whistle blower report to get a result. See the BWF website for more on the steps towards a hearing panel result (linked here).
BWF’s position is that ‘every athlete has the right to compete in clean and fair sport’ and we all have a responsibility to protect the integrity of badminton.
Case 1 – Eight Indonesian Players
This case involves eight Indonesian players who knew each other, and competed in lower level international competitions mostly in Asia up until 2019. A report by a whistle blower allowed the BWF Integrity Unit to start an investigation and to interview a number of players regarding potential breaches of BWF Integrity Regulations (Codes of Conduct for Betting Wagering and Irregular Match Results). All eight players were Provisionally Suspended in January 2020 until the result of a hearing process was known.
All of the players were found to have breached BWF regulations related to match fixing, match manipulation and/or betting on badminton. Three of them were found to have coordinated and organised others into manipulating match play for money.
The three central figures in the group who had organised match manipulation, were suspended from badminton related activities for life. The five others were suspended for between 6 to 12 years and fined between USD $3,000 – $12,000 each.
As per the Judicial Procedures, the athletes have the right to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) within 21 days of the notice of the reasoned decision.
- IHP Reasoned Decision (linked here)
Case 2 – Malaysian Citizen and Representative of a Badminton Brand
The BWF Independent Hearing Panel has suspended a Malaysian citizen, Ze-Young LIM from badminton-related activity for life.
Over a number of years, the BWF Integrity Unit had been investigating a case which involved an individual who is a representative of an equipment brand which has sponsored international level badminton players. The accused was found to have breached the BWF Integrity Regulations (Codes of Conduct for Betting Wagering and Irregular Match Results 2012, 2016 and 2017) by an Independent Hearing Panel.
The Panel found that the individual had approached international badminton athletes and offered money to manipulate matches, bet on multiple badminton matches including matches involving players that were sponsored by the individuals’ employer and had “abused his position of influence as an executive in a sporting brand in an attempt to corrupt international badminton and enrich himself”.
Because of the nature of the breaches and this person’s access to and influence over players his company sponsored, the Independent Hearing Panel suspended the individual from badminton-related activities for life.
It is to be noted that as per article 8.1 of the Badminton Code of Ethics, members of the badminton community should not associate in a professional or sports-related capacity with any individual serving a suspension.
As per the Judicial Procedures, the individual has the right to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) within 21 days of the notice of the reasoned decision.
- IHP Reasoned Decision (linked here)