The secretary-general of the World Badminton Federation (WBF), Thomas Lund, has reacted angrily to criticisms that his organisation had put profit before players.
The Federation has been accused of allowing financial motives to dictate their actions in allowing the All England Championship to go ahead despite the Covid-19 virus outbreak. However, Lund insists that the decision was made based on the best advice available at the time.
It follows reports that a member of Taiwan’s team, upon returning to his own country, tested positive for the virus.
Chief amongst those protesting the decision to stage the tournament – one of the last sporting events to be held before the global shutdown, as India’s Saina Nehwal who has claimed the Federation’s reasons were money-motivated, whilst Pullela Gopichand said the decision was “wrong”.
Other Indian players like HS Prannoy, chose to boycott the event altogether.
Another one to lend his voice to the protests is Denmark’s Mad-Conrad Petersen, who said he was “worried and ashamed” that the Championship went ahead as if everything was normal.
Lund, though, in an open letter, has said that whilst hindsight is wonderful thing, the Federation was forced to make a judgement call in a very fluid situation, with government advice and the measures taken to combat the virus varying from country to country.
He also emphasised that the health and safety of all competitors was the number one priority of his organisation, and that it was improper for members of the badminton community to impugn other motives to the BWF.
However, there are striking similarities with the European round of the Olympic boxing qualifiers which were also held in England at the same time, and, which like the All-England Championship, were amongst the last sporting events held.
In that instance, the trails continued for three days in London before they were halted, but that was enough time for two Turkish boxers and their trainers to contract the disease during their stay.
The Turkish Boxing Federation has since accused the IOC of gross irresponsibility for holding the event in the first place given the Covid-19 outbreak.