BWF decides against implementing new scoring system

BANGKOK • Badminton's global governing body swatted down a plan yesterday to adopt a new scoring system that favours faster matches after players and associations expressed angst over the proposed change.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) was considering amending the rules to make games shorter in a shift that supporters argued would attract more fans to the sport, which already has a large following in Asia.

But the proposal, which would have seen players compete in best-of-five 11-point games instead of the current set-up of three 21-point games, failed to pass at its annual general meeting, according to a post on the organisation's official Facebook page.

"Badminton will continue to be played under the 3x21 scoring system," the post read, adding that the proposal actually received more votes for the change - 129 - than the 123 that opposed the amendment. However, it fell short of the required two-thirds majority.

The decision followed a wave of opposition from some of the sport's top shuttlers including world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen, who said the new rule could disrupt the physically gruelling aspect of competition and make it less interesting to watch.

Speaking ahead of today's prestigious biennial Thomas and Uber Cup tournaments in Bangkok, the 24-year-old told reporters that he would rather stick to the status quo.

Axelsen added that the change would come too close to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and it would "take out the more physical part of the game".


  • ORIGINAL: 3x15

    Best of three games, with women playing to 11 points.

  • 2002: 5x7

    Best of five, with BWF hoping to increase the commercial and broadcast appeal. But match length still remained a problem, with the 2002 Commonwealth Games the last event to use the system.

  • 2002-2006: 3x15

  • AUGUST 2006: 3x21

    Best of three. Together with the removal of the service over rule - meaning players can score regardless of the server - the sport was updated and this faster paced-version has been well-received.

"I'm afraid we won't see that as much if we play to 11 points even though it's five sets," he said.

"Also, I know that some of the matches might be sort of boring to watch if there is too big of a difference in the level of players.

"I think that 21 points, it's fine, I don't think it's a problem. So I'd rather continue with how things are."

BWF president Poul-Erik Hoyer had been in favour of the change, saying in February that it "will realise badminton's vast global potential, bring in more excitement and increase broadcast and fan appeal".

No other details were provided on whether other decisions were made including the proposed replacement of coaching breaks with time-outs, and the question of match-fixing after two Malaysian players were accused of it and handed career-ending bans and fines earlier this month.



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 20, 2018, with the headline 'BWF decides against implementing new scoring system'. Print Edition | Subscribe