Raise the Profile with Relegation and Commonsense

As the years go by the worse some sports administrators decision making seems to be.

On the weekend the Sudirman Cup Badminton tournament came to and end with China being crowned Champions for the tenth time in its 14 year history.

The tournament is an international event, where players represent their country. There are the Thomas and Uber Cup competitions where men and Women respectively represent their nations. The Sudirman cup however sees them play together representing their countries.

There are five matches to a rubber. The men’s and women’s singles, Mens and women’s doubles and mixed doubles.

It is a great concept, but sadly the powers that be have taken some of the gloss away from the tournament as a whole.

First of all there were 35 nations taking part in the tournament, yet only twelve teams could win the Cup.

That was not too bad as these were the top ranked sides in the world and the difference between them and a nation ranked 35th is vast. However in the competition teams were put into four groups. The top twelve nations, followed by the next eight in Group two, the next eight in Group three and the final Group of seven.

Sadly there is no incentive for any of the teams participating in these groups to come out on top apart from national pride as a couple of tournaments ago the Badminton World Federation opted to do away with the top team being promoted to the next tier and the bottom one being relegated.

This was very short sighted as had a nation such as Australia won their Group and moved up to the next tier the chances are the various media outlets would have given the sport some coverage. When there is nothing at stake they will continue to remain anonymous as a sport. Australia is not alone in facing such an issue. It is therefore vital that in two years time the BWF have a change of tack and restore promotion and relegation and give every team something to play for.

Another decision that they made was equally baffling and detrimental to the tournament. Sadly Badminton suffered bad publicity at the Olympic Games when China and South Korea had teams thrown out of the tournament because it was determined that both teams wanted to lose in order to secure an easier draw after the round robin stage. Indonesia also had team disqualified.

In truth both teams were playing to the rules albeit not in the spirit of the game.

To avoid such a situation happening again the BWF announced that they would draw those teams who qualified for the next round out of a hat to see who played whom.

What happened at the Sudirman Cup is two matches from the round robin were repeated, Germany who had lost to China 5-0 were drawn together again as were Malaysia and South Korea. As they had in the initial match China defeated Germany 3-0, but South Korea managed to turn a 3-2 loss into a 3-1 victory. However having teams play each other again four days later was not a good spectacle.

As many players and coaches said at the time this can be easily corrected, simply by having a rider that no two teams who met in the group stage can meet again in the quarter finals if drawn out of the hat. This would be better for the tournament, the players, the spectators and television audiences.

Why is it that so many people involved with the game at close quarters can see that such simple changes would make such a difference to the intensity and interest that would be generated in the tournament, yet those making the decisions fail to see it?

It appears that no matter what the sport many administrators and becoming so far removed from those playing and coaching the game that they are no longer able to make logical decisions which to most appear basic common sense.

Hopefully as this is a biennial tournament there is time in which to make the changes that make the most sense.

Raise the Profile with Relegation and Commonsense
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