KUALA LUMPUR: Lin Dan of China won the world men’s singles title five times, his compatriots Chen Long and Yang Yang twice each, Japan’s Kento Momota has also won it twice while our very own Lee Chong Wei took the silver three times.
None of them took home even a cent for their victories.
The only prize won was the pride and honour of keeping their national flags flying high. It’s time to put a monetary price on such an achievement, says Malaysia’s men’s singles legend Rashid Sidek (pic).
He said it was high time for the Badminton World Federation (BWF) offer prize money for their annual World Championships and major team events like Thomas Cup Finals and Sudirman Cup.
After all, the world body has got the money, most of which was earned from such tournaments.
Last year, the BWF generated a total income of US$25.1mil (RM110mil) from their tournaments and Open events.
All BWF tournaments offer prize money except for the prestigious world championships and the premier team events.
“I understand why BWF did not offer prize money for these world tournaments in the past but now, they are making money in the millions. They should reward the players who take part in these tournaments,” said the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games silver medallist Rashid.
“After all, these are world-class tournaments. FIFA give payouts to all their 32 World Cup finalists, with 2018 winners France getting a total of US$38mil (RM165mil).
“There are more tournaments in BWF’s calendar now, which gives the world body a bigger revenue.
“I’m not sure how the revenue is distributed but the major chunk should be enjoyed by the players, after all they have worked hard for it.”
Although Rashid is grateful that prize money has generally increased over the years with the World Tour Finals offering the biggest prize money – a total of US$1.5mil (RM6,547,500) – he said it was not distributed proportionately.
“The top players who play consistently well make some money but what about the other players?
“When a top 32 player loses in the first round, he does not get much. It’s even harder for independent shuttlers who do not have the support of their national associations,” said Rashid.
“Even a lower-ranked played should get to taste the profit the world body makes. The BWF should re-look their expenditure and give more focus on the players,” he added.
Last year, the world body spent US$28.3mil (RM123.4mil) – with the bulk of it being used for hosting tournaments and Open events.
But there are other expenses that could be reviewed, for instance, the travel subsidies and allowance for members.
Another bulk of expenses are for general and administrative expenses, where nearly US$3mil (RM13mil) was spent on 42 full-time staff in Malaysia.
Of the 42, almost half are foreigners. Most of these staff are now working from their respective countries due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This could be a new norm to cut down the operating costs of the headquarters. BWF did spend US$710,968 (RM3.1mil) on anti-doping, players’ integrity education – a justifiable expenditure as it will help in their bid to keep the sport clean.
KEY POINTS FROM BWF’S 2019 ANNUAL REPORT (made public on May 6, 2020)
1. Gross Income: US$25,790,919 (RM112,577,361)
2. Income from tournaments and Open events: RM$25,134,075 (RM109,710,237)
2. Expenditure: US$28,272,545 (RM123,409,658)
3. Deficit: US$1,805,093mil (RM7,879,230)
4. Overall asset (reserve) carried forward: US$39,715,655 (RM173,358,834)
6. Honorarium for president: US$100,000 (RM436,500)
7. General and administrative expenses: US$3,518,531mil (RM15,358,387) , including 42 full-time staff cost of US$2,944,091 (RM12,850,957)
8. Integrity (anti-doping, player integrity education, investigation and legal advice): US$710,968 (RM3,103,375)
(one meeting in Nanning – May)
1. Elected a new member – Badminton Federation of Kosovo (total of 194 member affiliates now)
(three meetings in Birmingham – March, Nanning – May, Kuala Lumpur – October)
1. Approved travel subsidies for members to attend AGM (one-time business class allocation)
2. Decided not to call for elections in 2020 for two vacancies in council since they would have served only 12 months before 2021 elections.
3. Approved a range of technical regulations, including players commitments, refugee participation, retirement, deregistration, wildcard eligibility, advertising on clothing, banning advertising of vaping, mixed zone mandatory attendance on top two tier tournaments, and ceremonies protocol.
4. Decided to postpone implementation of relay team format at 2020 World Junior Championships.