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BWF to police withdrawals by players from same country
By Dave Thompson
LONDON (Reuters) - Badminton's world governing body is threatening severe penalties for players who cite injury or illness and pull out of matches without good reason when playing someone from their own country.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) made the announcement on Sunday during the world championships at Wembley Arena.
It comes after an executive board meeting heard from a special three man-panel set up last month after speculation about the legitimacy of some withdrawals at recent tournaments.
Concern had been expressed that withdrawals eased the way for countries to improve the rankings of certain players and that spectators were deprived of matches they had paid to see.
Action is to be stepped up with immediate effect. A statement said: "The BWF will for all international tournament levels ensure a focused monitoring process on all matches between players from the same country to eliminate potential speculation.
"If compelling evidence is found of any irregularities the matter will be treated with the utmost gravity by the BWF and severe penalties will be imposed."
BWF chief operating officer Thomas Lund told a media conference: "It's an area we take very seriously and it's an area that will be monitored especially during the Olympic qualification period leading up to London 2012."
Sanctions could range from taking away world ranking points to suspension.
(Reporting by Dave Thompson; Editing by John Mehaffey; To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)
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