Home Badminton USA Badminton reaches agreement with USOPC, avoids decertification – Daily News

USA Badminton reaches agreement with USOPC, avoids decertification – Daily News

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The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee has agreed to drop its bid to decertify USA Badminton, the sport’s Anaheim-based national governing body, according to Jonathan Little, an attorney for USA Badminton.

The agreement reached Monday ends a more than year-long battle over the control and direction of USA Badminton and comes a day before a decertification hearing was scheduled to open.

Under terms of the agreement, USA Badminton avoids both decertification and probation but will face some sanctions.

“Given the challenges USAB was facing as an organization last year, we understand why the USOPC believed it was necessary to bring this case forward,” USA Badminton said in a statement. “While it took longer than all of us hoped, we worked hard to address the issues that prompted the USOPC’s intervention and firmly believe we are better equipped to meet similar challenges in the future.USA B’s current leadership is pleased that the USOPC recognizes the progress that has been made so far and is committed to working with them on an ongoing basis for the benefit of our athletes and the greater badminton community.”

After months of threats, USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland informed USA Badminton in a Nov. 12 letter that the USOPC would begin decertification proceedings unless the organization voluntarily gave up its NGB status and withdrew from Badminton World Federation, the sport’s international governing body.

The USOPC maintained that USA Badminton had failed to meet requirements to appoint independent board members, including the chairman, and address concerns about athlete safety, financial accountability and the direction of the NGB.

USA Badminton countered that the organization has been in compliance with the USOPC demands following the resignations of USA Badminton CEO Jeff Dyrek and four board members last June. USA Badminton also said the NGB was being singled out unfairly while the USOPC failed to pursue similar action against larger NGBs, such as USA Swimming, with decades long histories of ignoring or covering up sexual abuse within their sport.

The Orange County Register reported in 2018 that top USA Swimming executives, board members, top officials and coaches acknowledged in thousands of pages documents that they were aware of sexually predatory coaches for years, in some cases even decades, but did not take action against them.

The USOPC has not attempted to decertify USA Swimming. A USOPC move to strip USA Gymnastics of its NGB status in the wake of the Larry Nassar, Don Peters and Marvin Sharp sexual abuse scandals was put on hold by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge pending the outcome of USA Gymnastics’ Chapter 11 case.

USOPC attorney Onye Ikwuakor, who has handled the USA Badminton case, did not respond to a request for comment.

The USOPC first raised the possibility of decertification in September 2018 following a highly critical review of USA Badminton operations, especially in regards to following SafeSport requirements.

The USOC’s audit division found four areas of “high risk” in USA Badminton’s Athlete Safety program including failing to conduct required criminal background checks on members, not following Safe Sport training requirements, not verifying Safe Sport course completion in a timely manner and not requiring background checks or Safe Sport training for individuals in “frequent contact with athletes” including doctors, trainers, therapists and other medical personnel.

Tensions between the USOPC and some USA Badminton board members continued to escalate in 2019 over the USOPC failure to address board members complaints about Dyrek and the appointment of Yucca Rieschel, a leading USOPC financial contributor, to the USA Badminton board as an independent member.

Rieschel was appointed to a four-year term in October 2018. Patty Pflaging was appointed to a two-year term on the board at the same time. Rieschel was one of the board members who resigned last June in the wake of Dyrek’s resignation.

“Want to reinforce the fact that both are outstanding candidates,” Andy Knox, a USA Badminton nominating and governance committee member, wrote in a Nov. 5, 2018 email to then USA Badminton chairman David Simon obtained by the Southern California News Group. “Do not want to risk embarrassing Patty or suggesting that she is somehow lesser qualified of the two. While we cannot state this, the financial commitment by the Rieschel is powerful and tipped the scales.”



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