Money returns to the players


  • Badminton
  • Wednesday, 03 Jun 2020

PETALING JAYA: It may seem unfair that no prize money is offered to those who become world champions – but every penny made from the multi-million dollar World Badminton Championships goes back to the players in different ways.

Badminton World Federation (BWF) secretary general Thomas Lund, in rebutting claims that the shuttlers were on the losing end, gave an assurance that the revenue all goes back to the players.

Lund said it had been the tradition of the world body to host their annual World Championships without prize money since the tournament’s inception in 1977.

The BWF also do not offer prize money for Thomas-Uber Cup Finals, Sudirman Cup, and World Junior Championships.

Last week, Malaysia’s singles legend Rashid Sidek requested the BWF to give what was due to the players by offering prize money for the world meet and the major team events.

Rashid said it was only right to give back to the players as the world body generated income of US$25.1mil (RM110mil) from their tournaments and Open events.

Said Lund: “The BWF have two main sources for income – tournaments and subsidy given by the IOC (International Olympic Committee). For this year’s Olympics cycle (four years), we received US$17mil.

Thomas LundThomas Lund

“The income is used for the overall development of the game. Development includes everything at every level – from developing top players to hosting of tournaments, marketing, communications, television production, researches, development in continents. It’s a dollar-to-dollar for the sport.

“The World Championships never had prize money. It’s the same as the Olympic Games but the revenue goes back – every penny to the players.

“We host the lucrative World Tour tournaments, which is the bulk of our competitions,” he said.

The annual World Tour finale offers the biggest prize money – a total of US$1.5mil (RM6,547,500).

Lund admitted that the operating cost of their headquarters in Kuala Lumpur had increased compared to when it was London for almost two decades because they had grown into a big organisation.

“It’s not fair to compare with what we had decades ago. When I came to KL, I had only eight to nine staff but we have 42 now, because our organisation is run professionally at all levels,” said Lund.

“We have bigger clients and customers to serve. We are still left far behind football and tennis, but we are working on narrowing the gap.”

On the calendar for the players, which was revised after all their sports activities were suspended since the All-England in March, Lund hoped for support from all parties.

“A total of 25 Olympic qualifying tournaments from the third to top level were affected and we’ve moved them to between January and April next year,” he said.

“I understand the schedule is tight but I do hope the players see this as an opportunity to restore their livelihood. We place great importance in the health of players but we have to make plans.

“We need the support and all to persevere for the ecosystem to get back to normal.

“For players to compete, for hosts to organise tournaments, for sponsors to return. Together, we can make it work.”

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