Malaysian shuttlers banned for corruption, match-fixing

KUALA LUMPUR • Two Malaysian shuttlers have been hit with career-ending suspensions of 20 and 15 years respectively after being found guilty of corruption and match-fixing.

The sport's governing body, Badminton World Federation (BWF), yesterday announced a 20-year ban for former world junior champion Zulfadli Zulkiffli and a 15-year ban for Tan Chun Seang.

A BWF statement said the duo were found guilty of breaching the body's code of conduct in relation to "betting, wagering and irregular match results".

Hearings into the case were held in Singapore in February, and a BWF ethics panel concluded both players had been "engaged in corruption offences over a significant period and a significant number of tournaments" dating back to 2013.

The BWF added that Zulfadli had committed more violations over a longer period and it was ascertained that he had manipulated the results of four matches.

Their suspension was backdated to Jan 12, the date they were provisionally suspended by the BWF.

Neither player is affiliated with the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), but Tan was in the Malaysian squad for the prestigious Thomas Cup in 2010. He was banned by the BAM from Asian tournaments for two years after quitting the national team in 2011.

Zulfadli beat current world champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark to clinch the 2011 world junior title.

The governing body for the sport in Malaysia vowed to keep up its fight against match-fixing following the "sad and shocking day".

Said BAM president Datuk Norza Zakaria: "It is indeed a sad and shocking day that a sport so close to our hearts is tainted by match-fixing. However, BAM has always maintained a zero-tolerance (policy) against match-fixing, doping and corruption.

"Therefore it is our utmost priority to fight against match manipulation and to keep our game clear."

National doubles chief coach Cheah Soon Kit felt the case should serve as a "stern warning" to all the shuttlers worldwide, adding: "It's not the right thing to do. In sports, it's all about professionalism and sportsmanship."

At the 2012 London Olympics, eight women's doubles players were disqualified for trying to lose group games to gain an easier quarter-final draw.

In 2014, the BWF asked police to investigate claims by two Danish players, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and Kim Astrup, that they were approached by a Malaysian man to throw matches.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 03, 2018, with the headline 'Malaysian shuttlers banned for corruption, match-fixing'. Print Edition | Subscribe