Sun, 05 Sep 1999

IBF told to think of all nations' concerns

DENPASAR, Bali (JP): Officials of the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI) and the Badminton Association of Denmark (DBF) have urged the sport's leading Asian countries not to smother the concerns of other nations.

PBSI secretary-general Leo Chandra Wiranata warned of the possibility of a repeat of the split in the sport which occurred in the 1970s, when the International Badminton Federation (IBF) consisting of European members was pitted against the World Badminton Federation (WBF) chaired by China.

"It is a reality that Asian countries dominate badminton," Leo said on Friday. "For example, the Thomas Cup has been staged in Asia for more than 30 years while the Sudirman Cup has been played on the continent for 10 years. But they must not overwhelm the minority.

"We should not let a black page in our history happen again."

The IBF's plan to move its headquarters to Asia has caused controversy.

"European countries will be very disappointed if the IBF decides to move its office from London to Kuala Lumpur," he said. "If the IBF wants to move it to Asia, they can pick other cities including Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta or Manila."

The IBF argues it needs to relocate due to high administrative costs in London, reportedly amounting to 50 percent of its monthly expenditures.

"If the IBF breaks into two due to the problem, I'm afraid badminton won't be featured in the Olympics anymore."

DBF director of management Thomas Lund said he did not see any indication the IBF would splinter.

"I don't think IBF will be divided into two parts. We (IBF members) all have to work as a unit to develop the sports, otherwise badminton won't exist in the world," he said.

Lund urged the IBF to work harder to develop badminton into a global sport.

"The IBF must not consider only its financial condition but also how to develop badminton in Europe, as well as in Asia and also all over the world."

Lund said Asia's hardship during the economic crisis also influenced the badminton development in the region.

"If badminton had become a global sport, the condition would not have influenced badminton competitions. With big TV rights and big sponsorships, as in the NBA, tennis and golf, I think the IBF would not have experienced financial problems in developing the sport into a global sport."

Lund urged the IBF to stop being a "political organization".

"IBF is a very political organization as they only discuss a lot. It seems they don't do much to develop badminton into a global sport, and not only European or Asian-dominated sport."

Leo said: "I think the federation officials must not include politics in the sports organization. There are some countries which are against England and the United States." He declined to name the countries. (yan)