England’s pull out ‘unfortunate’, says world federation

By Avishek Roy, IANS,

Hyderabad: Badminton World Federation (BWF) Sunday termed as “unfortunate” England’s decision to pull out from the World Championships citing security concerns, and said the team management could have waited for some time to allow the world organisation to come out with credible information on the threat perceptions.

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BWF chief operating officer Thomas Lund, however, said that it was England’s personal decision based on “perception” and ruled out any threat to the world event. This is the second time the England team has decided to pull out of an tournament in India. In March, they didn’t participate in the Indian Open Grand Prix also held in Hyderabad.

According to BWF rules, the English team will have to shell out $250,000 for withdrawing from the championship.

The 19-member English squad took the decision to withdraw Saturday evening. The team included the top mixed doubles pair of Nathan Robertson, 2004 Olympic silver medallist, and Jelly Wallwork.

“We respect the decision of the England team. We are not here to assess their decision. But it is unfortunate that the English team made their decision before we had an opportunity to brief the team management,” Lund told reporters here at the Gachibowli Stadium.

“There was no specific threat to the World Championships. The media report about a terror strike here was factually incorrect. And we took some time to verify the information and reach out to the players and the teams. We could not have done so without credible information and by that time the English team had already decided to withdraw from the competition,” he said.

“We had intelligence information following a meeting with Cyberabad Police Commissioner Prabhakar Reddy late Saturday, which would have been important in the security assessment of the team,” he said.

When asked whether BWF was late in informing the teams about the reports of threat perceptions, Lund said “no”. He said they “could not have acted differently in the prevailing situation.”

“After a meeting with the Prabhakar Reddy, we immediiately reached the English team hotel and gave them a briefing around 6 p.m. (Saturday), but they had already made up their mind.”

Lund said he had a meeting with all teams and players and made them aware of the developments.

“There are concerns from some of the teams and players and they have their inputs of how to make the situation better. We have noted down their concerns and they are satisfied with the arrangements.”