BAD blood is brewing between the Badminton Association Malaysia (BAM) and fans of the game, past and present national players and even foreign players.
BAM has reportedly said Clause 7 of the contract between it and the players allows it to take “several punitive measures in the event a player wants to leave the national training centre.”
It looks like these “punitive measures” may not be clearly spelt out and it is up to BAM’s management to decide what they are. This can cause uproar and debate, as evident in the case of Lee Zii Jia.
Now is a good time for BAM, the players and other administrators to seek legal advice and come up with a contract spelling out detailed compensations and preventive actions should a player decide to leave.
A contract should be drawn up when players are initially drafted into BAM’s care and training. These players are likely to be minors, so a new contract should be drawn up when they reach the age of 18. This is because the players would know their potential, ambition and enthusiasm for the game by then.
At 21, another contract should be signed between both parties. The stakes would be much higher by this time and more money would be spent training and sending the players to competitions. Players could also be earning more from their success in tournaments or offered lucrative endorsements or professional deals.
In the three stages of the contract, specific and detailed compensations and preventive actions must be clearly stated and strictly administrated when there is a parting of ways.
Players may feel they have plateaued with their current training methods and coaches. There are ambitions to move up a few notches by refining or reinventing their game or style with new coaches or training regimes. They may not wish to remain stagnant in one style when the competitor can easily read their game.
With amicable, structured and detailed separation clauses in place, both parties would be able to work together for the good of the game and the nation. Players who leave BAM can still bring fame and pride to the nation by playing under it in international tournaments. These players should always be grateful for the strong starting base BAM gave them.
Badminton is Malaysia’s beautiful game; everything must be done right to keep it that way.
KOO WEE HON