No qualification rounds, mandatory test per player at events: Protocols for badminton’s restart

Elwanda Tulloch

There will be at least one mandatory Covid-19 test per player per event, the Badminton World Federation said on Friday as it published safety operating procedures for the resumption of the sport amid the pandemic. A day after announcing the readjusted international calendar, the governing body published its safety protocols […]

There will be at least one mandatory Covid-19 test per player per event, the Badminton World Federation said on Friday as it published safety operating procedures for the resumption of the sport amid the pandemic.

A day after announcing the readjusted international calendar, the governing body published its safety protocols and operating procedures documents.

BWF Tournament Calendar 2020: Grade 1 & Grade 2

Tournament Week City Level
 BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2020 40-41 Aarhus, Denmark Major Championships
Denmark Open I 2020 42 Odense, Denmark Super 750
Denmark Open II 2020 43 Odense, Denmark Super 750
Asia Open I 2020 46 TBC Super 1000
Asia Open II 2020 47 TBC Super 1000
BWF World Tour Finals 2020 48 TBC Major Championships

The global governing body said that teams and participants entering tournaments during the European and Asian legs are advised not return to their home countries as many would then have to undergo a 14-day quarantine period upon their return.

A two-week transition time to move the tour and all participants from Europe to Asia safely including a necessary quarantine or screening period has been factored in.

“To ensure the safest possible environment for players and entourage BWF will be implementing a Covid-19 testing plan for each Major Championships and HSBC BWF World Tour tournament,” BWF said in a release.

“All players and team entourage will be required to undertake Covid-19 PCR tests at each Major Championships and BWF World Tour tournaments. There will be at least one mandatory test per player per event.”

BWF’s testing strategy: 

a) Players / entourage leaving home country to participate in first tournament – all players / entourage leaving from their home base must be tested and possess documentation to state that they have tested negative for Covid-19. The cost is to be borne by the respective Member Association/player(s)/entourage.

b) Players entering a new country after traveling or playing in a competition in a different country – players /entourage to be tested upon arrival either at the airport, venue or other designated testing facility with results to be received as soon as possible. Tournament activities will not include qualifying rounds as limitation will have to be put on number of participants and to ensure that the schedule of the tournament can be conducted in an appropriate way. 

c) Further testing will be done during the week to continuously validate that participants are free from infection. Exact timing for testing to be notified to participants ahead of the tournaments, but if needed further testing can be required with a short notice notification. All testing activities are mandatory and a prerequisite to getting an accreditation and access to the tournament. It is highly recommended that the majority of players aim to arrive in a tournament city latest by Sunday morning (earlier for Major Championships – i.e. Tuesday/Wednesday, but latest Thursday) so as to ensure the tests are carried out and results obtained before official practice begins.  

The Thomas & Uber Cup Finals (October 3-11) will be the first tournament to be held since March when the global health crisis had forced the cancellation of events. The All England Open was the last BWF World Tour event to be completed.

“International participants for the BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2020 are not required to undergo quarantine upon arrival in Denmark just a negative Covid-19 test and relevant travel documentation,” BWF said.
“Instead of shaking hands, players can touch rackets with their opponents and nod/put their hand across their chest when greeting the match officials,” it said.

“A shuttlecock dispenser will be provided at each end of the court. When a player wants to change a shuttlecock and is allowed to do so by the Umpire, the player can take a shuttlecock from the dispenser and return the used shuttlecock to the Service Judge with the racket or drop it into the shuttle box.”

BWF’s safety procedure:

  • Accreditations for tournament personnel will be divided into three categories or ‘bubbles’ – green, orange and red.
  • BWF will implement a Covid-19 testing plan for each tournament, which will entail a group of key accredited personnel being tested prior to each event (green category).
  • Participants in the green category must be tested for Covid-19 before leaving their home country and present a negative test result upon arrival to the tournament destination.
  • Testing during tournament weeks (Weeks 40-48) will be conducted by the BWF, with expenses also borne by the BWF.
  • Accreditation passes will only be issued for each tournament to green category personnel once a negative test has been obtained.
  • Procedures will be in place to ensure minimal contact between the bubbles – particularly  those in the green category and those participants not tested.
  • Any breach of the BWF guidelines and protocols will result in accreditation being revoked and participants not permitted to enter the venue.

Covid-19 Safety Protocols and Operating Procedures available here.

Covid-19 Protocols for Players and Team Entourage here.

(With PTI inputs)

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