BWF to push for 'suite of changes' at AGM

NEW DELHI: The Badminton World Federation (BWF) will formally propose a suite of changes, including around the scoring system and on-court coaching, "to enhance the sport" at its annual general meeting in Bangkok, Thailand on 19 May. 

The formal proposals will be circulated to the membership on 30 March together with all other proposals received by 23 February.

The changes, the BWF Council feels, will enhance the quality of its broadcast product and commercial value of sport, among other things. 

The key enhancements that require the AGM's endorsement are: a new scoring system of 11-point, best-of five-games, reduction in on-court coaching, a service-law change to introduce a fixed height for serves.

The move to change the scoring system was strongly objected to by coaches and players before the Rio Olympics and was therefore not passed in the previous AGM.

Badminton is not new to rule changes and has experienced several such alterations in the past. The current system of 21x3 (three games of 21 points) was introduced in 2006. With the points getting longer, increasing the duration of matches, it was viewed as a sign to rejig the current set up. The rationale behind the new scoring rules includes "goal of building greater suspense in badminton; shortening the length of matches and reducing physical and mental stress on players".

The proposed idea of introducing 11-point system over five sets has been doing the rounds in the last couple of years. It has already been experimented with in some tournaments.

In a letter to BWF's 189 member associations, BWF president Poul-Erik Hoyer noted the federation could not afford to rest on the successes it has reaped. Hoyer urged his colleagues to "embrace change and do what is best for badminton".

"We must continue attracting and exciting 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."