Two Malaysian badminton players have been hit with career-ending bans of 20 and 15 years after being found guilty of 31 violations of the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) code of conduct.
According to a statement by the BWF, former world junior champion Zulfadi Zulkiffli, 25, was banned for 20 years and given a $25,000 fine, while Tan Chun Seang, 31, was banned for 15 years and fined $15,000.
The sport’s world governing body argued that the duo were guilty of breaching the BWF’s code of conduct in relation to ‘betting, wagering and irregular match results’.
A three-member independent panel appointed by the BWF found that Tan committed 26 violations to the 2012 Code of Conduct in Relation to Betting Wagering and Irregular Match Results, while Zulkiffli committed 31 infringements.
The panel noted that both players ‘engaged in corruption offences over a significant period and a significant number of tournaments’ dating back to 2013.
It was revealed that Zulkiffli ‘committed more violations over a longer timeframe than Tan’ and had ‘been proven to have manipulated the results of four matches’.
The suspensions began on 12 January 2018, the date on which both players were provisionally suspended by the BWF.
The sport’s world governing body first noticed the match-fixing issue after a foreign player lodged a report with the body in 2016, claiming that he had been approached by one of the suspects to manipulate the outcome of the match.
Former Malaysian badminton star, Datuk James Selvaraj, said the lengthy bans are not as bad as the players shaming their own country.
‘This is the first-time badminton players are being banned for match-fixing. They were facing a life ban but were lucky to be let off with 20- (Zulfadli) and 15- (Chun Seang) year bans. To me, their career is over,’ Malaysian news site New Straits Times cited James as saying.
‘They can't do anything, it's over. It's sad for Malaysian badminton, because our country is the first to be linked to this disgraceful culture.’
With the suspensions, both shuttlers will be unable to participate in any badminton-related activity, including playing, coaching or holding any positions in badminton-related organizations.