The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has today revealed its updated BWF Tournament Calendar for 2021.
BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund said the changes were made following a comprehensive feasibility study to determine how best to optimise exposure for the sport and to preserve the livelihoods of the elite playing community, and other industry participants.
“The new calendar represents an assessment of what are the most feasible tournaments to take place in the coming months. Europe is seen as a more feasible region to conduct tournaments at this present time with higher rates of vaccine implementation and less travel restrictions,” Lund said.
“While a number of tournament hosts in Asia are eager to stage tournaments, the general feedback surrounding COVID-19 restrictions and the uncertainty of the situation there has meant that it is likely only a few tournaments could possibly take place.
“In saying that, we have been able to work with the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI) to present a comprehensive plan for a three-week bubble-style setup in Bali similar to what we saw at the Asian Leg in Bangkok earlier this year. And we are still assessing the feasibility of staging a few other tournaments also in Asia in this period.
“Unfortunately, though, we won’t be able to conduct any tournaments in China, and therefore won’t be able to host the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals in its spiritual home in Guangzhou. But moving the Finals to Bali does allow us to stage the season finale within the busy 2021 tournament schedule.
“We are also very grateful to Badminton Finland for coming to us with a solution to stage the TotalEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup Finals 2021 in Vantaa instead of in China. They have conducted a number of international tournaments in 2020 and 2021 with a proven safe and flexible framework for participants, and we are very excited to have this opportunity to take our flagship World Mixed Team Championships to Finland for the very first time.
“Without such a shift in focus, we would not be able to present consistent opportunities for our athletes to play again, and therefore, secure the most important deliverables for sponsors and broadcasters, bring the highest possible prize money to players on the World Tour, and safeguard the long-term future of badminton.”
Lund also acknowledged the cooperation of a number of other Member Associations for their flexibility and understanding, and appealed to the playing group and teams to support the updated calendar.
“We also thank those hosts who have committed to this new plan and accommodated any necessary changes, including the Spanish Badminton Federation which has agreed to push back the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships by two weeks,” he said.
“The whole badminton fraternity needs to come together and support these tournaments. We start a new ranking cycle following the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and this bumper schedule offers players a safe and structured platform to earn important world ranking points and prize money for a sustained period.
“If we can commit to having the world’s best players on show week in week out, then badminton’s future will be strong for the benefit of everyone as we exit COVID-19.”