Thu, 11 May 2000

IBF applies new rules on final four round

KUALA LUMPUR (JP): The International Badminton Federation (IBF) made a crucial decision on Wednesday to change its rule about the playing of matches after a team has attained an unbeatable lead in a best-of-five tie.

Referee Dennis Li of Hong Kong said after the IBF's managerial meeting at the Pearl International Hotel that the new rule would take effect this year.

"Previously, if a team led by three points (matches) in a tie, we left it up to the referee should he want to continue or stop the matches. But from now on, the matches in the semifinals and final must be stopped after a team leads by three points.

"It only wastes time. Besides, the spectators will not see the remaining matches as interesting anymore. It won't change the decision on the winner even though the team can earn two remaining points."

Discussing the last-minute replacement of Danish doubles specialist Michael Sogaard's in the event, Li said the IBF accepted the medical reason provided by the Danish team.

"There is no other information on Sogaard's withdrawal from the team."

Sogaard was reportedly replaced by Jon Holst-Christensen due to poor discipline during training.

Danish head coach Kenneth Larsen said: "Sogaard is not here because of problems with team spirit. We want everybody to give 100 percent support to the team.

"I reviewed his performance in the European Championships and I decided to replace him with Jon. I just informed him a week ago."

Li said the IBF could accept the replacement as the new partnership of Holst-Christensen and Jim Laugesen were lower ranked than Laugesen/Sogaard.

Holst-Christensen said: "I was told to replace Michael early last week. I had a little problem as my wife is working but everything went well and I could come here.

"I love being in the Thomas Cup team as it's my sixth time. Hopefully with my being on the team, I can help them in critical points." (yan)