A New Scoring System, Demand for a Players’ Association - Lots to Ponder for BWF

By: Editor
Date: 06 Apr, 2021
Image Courtesy: GoBadminton

Sport is a dynamic paradigm and ever so often it is required to evolve, and change based on the audience it serves or hopes to serve. About a decade and half ago, cricket went through this change with the advent of T20 and a slew of changes to the ODIs – many of which continue to happen to this day. 


The advent of T20 brought in a whole new generation of audience into the sport, while also irking some of the purists of the game at the same time. And yet, there’s no denying that T20s have energized the sport and make it relevant to the millennial audience. While the debate continues to rage about T20s v Tests, Countries v Clubs, there’s no denying that the change has definitely worked for the betterment of the sport.


Now Badminton, reeling under the impact of the global corona virus impact and difficulties in resuming the game following the lockdown wants to make the sport more exciting and TV-friendly. At 21 points, the games are a little too long to hold the television audience interests, and that is hurting the game thinks the world badminton federation. And thus, a radical new approach to change the points to 11 per game and play it in a best of five format than a best of three, as present.


According to BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer, these changes are proposed to make badminton more exciting and to increase the entertainment value for stakeholders and fans.


The changes were proposed by the Badminton Indonesia and Badminton Maldives and are expected to be enforced following the Tokyo Olympics later this year, should they be accepted at the BWF AGM in May 2021.


However, there is already opposition in some quarters with Danish superstar Viktor Axelsen expressing his displeasure at leaving the players out of the discussion on changes to the playing format. While, he hasn’t addressed his exact concerns in so many words, clearly, he isn’t thrilled at the new set of rules and surely not so at the possibility of the players being left out of important conversations such as these.


He has called for greater say from the players and believes that the current system is heavily loaded in favor of the associations. While acknowledging the work done by the associations, Axelsen says that the way forward is to have a strong and robust players’ body.


Surely, there is merit in what the Danish star has to say? After all, players are an integral and important part of the sports’ ecosystem and every major sport on the planet has an active and vocal players’ association that represents the voice of the players at various forums. 


Should BWF consider this along with other reforms? The time seems to have indeed arrived for it. 

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