BWF tournament calendar: Thomas & Uber Cup Finals in end-2021

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KUALA LUMPUR: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, a necessary review of the BWF Tournament Calendar 2021 has now been carried out and this process has included how to reopen the BWF World Rankings and deal with a range of tournament related matters.

BWF Tournament Calendar 2021
The COVID-19 situation continues to provide a challenging environment in which to run international tournaments, and although the hope is that the COVID-19 vaccine may in time create a world with less restrictions, BWF expects that the pandemic will still influence tournament hosting throughout the whole of 2021.

With this in mind, a revised BWF Tournament Calendar for 2021 has been created with a focus to establish cluster tournaments where possible (i.e.  – (back-to-back tournaments in the same country). This will be similar to what is planned for the Asian Leg in January in Thailand and BWF expects to host a number of tournaments in this way to ensure a more feasible tournament programme in 2021.

The tournament calendar is presently confirmed until Week 31, which is until the end of the Olympic Games. Further revisions are expected in due course for the last part of the year and BWF is currently contacting Member Associations around possible necessary adjustments to tournament dates.

The TOTAL BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2020 postponed earlier this year will now take place in 2021. It has been decided that the Championships will be hosted in Aarhus, Denmark in the last part of 2021 in Week 41, as part of a tournament cluster in Denmark  with the  DANISA Denmark Open 2021 in Week 42.

Regarding the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2021, BWF is in close consultation with the Chinese Badminton Association and the host city of Suzhou to identify a suitable window within the BWF Tournament Calendar 2021. BWF will soonest possible announce further dates for the Mixed Team World Championships when we publish the tournament calendar for the rest of 2021, which details the schedule of tournaments following the Tokyo Olympic Games.

For revised calendar for the first 31 weeks of 2021, click here...

Postponed Tournaments – 2021 Calendar
The following tournaments have been postponed – more information will be provided once new dates have been identified:
o   BARFOOT & THOMPSON New Zealand Open 2021 (HSBC BWF World Tour Super 300)
o   CROWN GROUP Australia Open 2021(HSBC BWF World Tour Super 300)
o   Korea Masters 2021 (HSBC BWF World Tour Super 300)

TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 
Due to the Covid-19 circumstances and the revisions to the tournament calendar the dates for the 2021 TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup are under review.

Grade 2 Tournaments
The following Grade 2 tournaments have been cancelled:
o   Lingshui China Masters 2021 (BWF Tour Super 100)
o   Princess Sirivannavari Thailand Masters 2021, (HSBC BWF World Tour Super 300)
o   TOYOTA Thailand Open 2021 (HSBC BWF World Tour Super 500)

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2.  Re-Opening BWF World Rankings

The BWF World Rankings will reopen following the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2020 being hosted in Week 4 2021. The calculation of the next BWF World Rankings list will be announced on Tuesday 2 February 2021, based on the following principles:

Tournaments already included in the BWF World Rankings list as of 17 March 2020 will remain.
Tournaments counting for the BWF World Rankings hosted after 17 March 2020 will be added to the BWF World Rankings list being calculated for 2 February 2021.
Tournaments sanctioned as world ranking tournaments going forward after 2 February 2021 will be added weekly.

No tournaments already included in the BWF World Rankings from 17 March 2020 will be dropped off the rankings until a date to be announced. The BWF World Rankings will be in a transition period and will consist of tournaments from more than 52 weeks. The exact drop-off methodology to reestablish a 52-week World Rankings list is still to be determined and will be announced in due course, but with advance notification.
The BWF World Rankings from 2 February 2021 will thereafter be used for M&Q and seeding.
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3.  Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Qualification

As previously announced, the Olympic Qualifying period for the Race to Tokyo will restart in 2021 and the first tournament counting for qualification will be the YONEX Swiss Open 2021 in Week 9.

Please refer to the enclosed calendar where tournaments counting for the Race to Tokyo rankings are marked (i.e. only tournaments planned to take place in 2020 within the original Olympic Qualification period).

The qualification period will be extended until Week 19, and the India Open 2021, an HSBC BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament, will be the last tournament in the qualification period. The extension of the qualification period is due to the extra time requirements needed to conduct tournaments with the COVID-19 safety protocols.

The qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be determined from the Race to Tokyo Rankings on 18 May 2021.

BWF is working with the IOC to update the Tokyo 2020 qualification system whereby the final updated regulation will be shared mid January following formal approval by IOC.
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4.  Seeding for the Olympic Games

The final Race to Tokyo Rankings on 18 May 2021 will be used for seeding for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
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5.  Tournament Host Tournament Package

BWF is conscious that the COVID-19 situation has had a significant impact  on tournament hosts and the way tournaments have to be set up to ensure the health and safety of all participants. BWF has developed a range of COVID-19 protocols on how to organise tournaments (latest version attached) where we have included learnings from tournaments completed in October 2020.

BWF are also aware of the financial impact upon tournament hosts, and BWF Council has therefore approved a COVID-19 Support Package with financial support and cost relieving initiatives to ensure tournaments can continue to be part of the HSBC BWF World Tour and BWF Tour in 2021. There is also support for tournaments at Grade 3 level in terms of allowing some reduction, if necessary, in minimum prize money obligations.

The package for all Super 300, Super 500, Super 750 and Super 1000 hosts include the following:
Grade 2 Tournaments: A reduction of 50% of sanction fee payable to BWF.
Grade 2 Tournaments: Financial support to implement BWF COVID-19 protocols which includes testing, arrangements around hotel safety, cleaning, provision of face masks to participants, and sanitising equipment etc.
Grade 2 and 3 Tournaments: The possibility to reduce total minimum prize money as per the below guidelines – this is an option to reduce cost levels for 2021 only, but BWF would encourage all hosts to keep prize money levels as high as possible for the benefit of all our top players:
Super 1000 – from $1.1 million to $850,000
Super 750 – from $750,000 to $600,000
Super 500 – from $400,000 to $320,000
Super 300 – from $200,000 to $140,000
Super 100 – from $100,000 to $75,000
International Challenge – from $25,000 to $15,000
International Series – from $10,000 to $5,000
Future Series – Less than $5,000

Besides the above, it was also agreed that all Super 300 and Super 500 tournaments will not have qualifying rounds – for Super 100 tournaments, BWF can upon request approve not to have qualifying rounds. This is to ensure enough time is allocated to conduct COVID-19 tests on all players/entourage/key officials and volunteers, and more importantly, enough time to receive the results before the start of the tournament.
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6.  World Junior Ranking
Due to the Covid-19 situation, many international junior tournaments have been cancelled and tournaments have not been hosted consistently in different parts of the world, and this has also meant that many junior players have not reasonably been able to participate in international junior tournaments.

Although BWF has been supporting international junior tournaments to happen regionally, it has been difficult, especially as they are junior tournaments, for these to run and for players to attend from different parts of the world – both because of COVID-19 safety considerations and cost considerations that influence junior participation in a particularly hard way.

As a result, BWF has decided to freeze the World Junior Rankings from 1 January 2021 until such time where we have a more consistent international junior tournament schedule. More information around the date and methodology around reopening the World Junior Rankings will be communicated in due course.