The Badminton World Federation (BWF) Council will formally propose a suite of changes to enhance the sport at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) of members in May.
These recommendations are being made to ensure badminton – which has enjoyed a steady rise in key areas in recent years – remains competitive in the fast-paced, cutting-edge sports-entertainment industry.
At its meeting last November, the BWF Council endorsed a package of initiatives which aims to build significant value for badminton. Some of these have already been introduced and the recent launch of the HSBC BWF World Tour is another platform to roll out more of these upgrades and enhancements. The BWF Council’s primary focus is to optimise the presentation of badminton at the highest level. BWF has a strategic, 360-degree approach that covers these elements:
· Enriching fan experience – attracting new fans
· Raising the profiles of stars and emerging talent
· Increasing the commercial value of badminton
· Strengthening badminton’s global recognition as a cutting-edge sport
· Enhancing the quality of its broadcast product
· Innovating competition rules
A special edition of BWF’s newsletter Shuttle World has been circulated publicly, outlining the BWF Council’s rationale, including the goal of building greater suspense in badminton; shortening the length of matches and reducing physical and mental stress on players. Under the banner Enhancing Badminton’s Future, the document also highlights other considerations regarding boosting badminton’s commercial value and sports presentation.
In an accompanying letter to BWF’s 189 member associations, BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer noted BWF cannot afford to rest on the successes it has reaped – but rather needs to be bolder and to go further in innovation.
Among the main enhancements that require the AGM’s endorsement are:
· A new and enhanced scoring system of 5 to 11.
· A reduction in on-court coaching.
· A service-law change to introduce a fixed height for serves.
Changing the scoring system – with specific focus on elite international tournaments – is an essential part of this strategic, multi-dimensional plan to innovate our competition rules.
“Our aim is to enhance and enrich our sport with wide-ranging initiatives that will realise badminton’s vast global potential; taking it to unprecedented heights in all spheres.
“We must continue attracting and exciting fans – fans who have countless, amazing choices in a competitive global sports market.
It’s time for change: time to bring in new peaks, more excitement and increase broadcast and fan appeal,” said Høyer, urging his colleagues “to embrace change and do what is best for badminton”.