KUALA LUMPUR: Independent badminton players can forget about playing in higher-ranked international tournaments.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have decided that from now on all professional, club and state shuttlers can only compete in the third-tier Grand Prix tournaments and below effective immediately.
Only BAM players will be allowed to play in all tournaments, including the Superseries and Grand Prix Gold tournaments.
But there is a way for the independent shuttlers to play in the Superseries and Grand Prix Gold tournaments – they must join the national team.
BAM president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria (pic) explained that the drastic measure was to safeguard the interest of national shuttlers and the national body.
“The BAM council have decided to limit the participation of state and independent players to only GP tournaments and below so as to ensure that our national interest is protected and that we’ll have the best players in our set-up,” said Norza after chairing the third council meeting at Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara.
“Only BAM players are allowed to play in the Superseries and GP Gold. This will be implemented with immediate effect.”
The new ruling, however, does not apply to independent players who have played for at least one year in the Superseries main draw. That means shuttlers like Chong Wei Feng, Zulfadli Zulkiffli, Liew Daren, Tan Boon Heong, Lim Khim Wah, Sannatasah Saniru, K. Yogendran and Mohd Arif Abdul Latif can still compete in the higher-ranked tournaments.
“Japan, China and South Korea are already doing this. Look at Lee Yong-dae (Korean doubles superstar). He does not get a chance to play in Superseries after quitting last year,” said
Norza, who was clearly unhappy with players leaving the national set-up at their whims and fancies.
“Some of our players find the national training too difficult and jump to a professional club and play in the Superseries. There’s no way they can do this now.”
Asked if the BAM’s move would stunt the growth of clubs, Norza replied: “No.”
Asked of BAM’s latest move was because some club players were doing better than the national shuttlers, Norza said: “No.”
“It’s about the country ... not about ourselves. We’re here to do national service and that is to gather all the best out there to produce world and Olympic champions,” said Norza.
“The clubs push players from nobody to world No. 50 or champions at the GP-level. The BAM will then turn them into medallists at the world meet and Olympic Games. We do it for the country.
“Right now, there are no clubs with the infrastructure to produce world-beaters, unless someone can prove me wrong. The BAM have the best facilities and experts. Let us build these players into world-beaters.
OTHER KEY DECISIONS
¦ To introduce a robust player incentive scheme that rewards performance and prevents complacency for 2018. The three-tier payment is for monthly salary (from RM2,500 to RM15,000); monthly world ranking bonus (from RM6,000 to RM22,500); and tournament bonus (RM2,000-RM45,000);
¦ To grant full membership to the Putrajaya BA and grant associate membership to the Labuan BA to ensure more stake holders are together with BAM;
¦ To increase the rate for local technical officials from an average of 25% to 75% from 2018 onwards in local tournaments. Referees will get RM80 to RM120 per day, deputy referees RM80 to RM100, desk officials RM40 to RM60, umpires RM40 to RM60 and line judges RM30-RM50; and
¦ To approve a more relaxed rule by allowing Under-18 players to play in international tournaments. This will be done by scrapping the rule where an Under-18 player can only compete in an international tournament if he or she had participated in national tournaments.