Badminton World Federation (BWF) has handed a life ban to a representative of a sports brand for his role in match fixing, while separately eight Indonesian players have received sanctions for breaching rules related to match fixing, match manipulation and betting.
The BWF said the two integrity cases concluded in late 2020, with decisions reached by the BWF Independent Hearing Panel.
Malaysia’s Lim Ze Young was a representative of an equipment brand that sponsors international badminton players and had reportedly been under the BWF Integrity Unit investigation for several years.
Two whistleblowers informed the BWF that he had asked them to manipulate matches at the Japan Open back in 2014.
An investigation was opened by the BWF who were reportedly unable to make contact with Ze Young until June 2017.
Two interviews were conducted with a further request for information then sent to Ze Young.
The BWF later received a witness statement from a current international player in April 2019, as part of a separate investigation.
The witness said they had met Ze Young in 2017, before occasional meetings at tournaments locally and overseas, and later becoming friends on Facebook.
The player asked Ze Young for assistance to settle gambling debts, with the Malaysian giving them a loan with an interest rate of 20 to 25 per cent.
Ze Young reportedly pressured the athlete with a threat that if he did not pay back the money, he would publicise the fact that they had been gambling on social media.
The debt was repaid in July 2019.
It was also discovered that Ze Young had placed bets or visited betting websites during multiple tournaments.
Ze Young was charged with numerous offences by the BWF Integrity Unit in 2020.
“The Independent Hearing Panel (IHP) found that the individual had approached international badminton athletes and offered money to manipulate matches, bet on multiple badminton matches including matches involving players that were sponsored by the individuals’ employer and had 'abused his position of influence as an executive in a sporting brand in an attempt to corrupt international badminton and enrich himself',” the BWF said.
“Due to the nature of the breaches and this person’s access to and influence over players his company sponsored, the IHP suspended the individual from badminton-related activities for life.”
The BWF also announced sanctions against Indonesian players Hendra Tandjaya, Ivandi Danang, Androw Yunanto, Sekartaji Putri, Mia Mawarti, Fadila Afni, Aditiya Dwiantoro and Agriprinna Prima Rahmanto Putra.
The eight players, who knew each other, competed in lower-level international competitions mostly in Asia up until 2019.
A report by a whistleblower led to the BWF Integrity Unit starting an investigation against the players, with interviews held last year related to match fixing, match manipulation and/or betting on badminton.
All eight players were provisionally suspended in January 2020 until a determination could be made through a hearing process.
Tandjaya, Danang and Yunanto were found to have coordinated and organised others into being complicit in the behaviour and have been suspended from all badminton related activities for life.
The five other players received suspensions of between six to 12 years, along with receiving fines.
Putri was banned for 12 years and fined $12,000 (£8,800/€9,800), while Mawarti and Afni received 10-year bans and $10,000 (£7,300/€8,100) fines.
Dwiantoro was banned for seven years and fined $7,000 (£5,100/€5,700) fine, while Rahmanto Putra received a six-year suspension and $7,000 fine.
Both integrity cases can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within 21 days of the verdict.