President Poul Erik Hoyer Larsen is poised for the second consecutive term at the helm of the Badminton World Federation. The 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games gold medallist is the lone candidate for the post he has held since 2013. The elections for the 18-member BWF Council will take place at the annual general meeting in Gold Cost, Australia, on May 20, 2017. A total of 35 candidates from the five continental confederations are in fray, but there is no opposition to the 51-year-old Dane.
Hoyer, an Olympic Gold medallist and two-time All-England champion, was first elected as the BWF president four years ago after South Korean Kang Young-Joong had stepped down. Peru’s Gustavo Salazar Delgado and Switzerland’s Paul Kurzo are also unchallenged while pursuing the retention of their respective positions of BWF deputy president and BWF vice-president for Para-badminton. Their impending reappointments mean the pair will be serving their second four-year terms with the BWF.
BWF’s initiatives under Hoyer Larsen have included signing up to the IOC Integrity Betting Intelligence System to reaffirm its commitment to fighting illegal betting, match fixing and corruption in sport. Badminton’s integrity, praised by IOC President Thomas Bach in July 2015, is a testament to the giant strides made under Hoyer Larsen after the sport was embroiled in a major scandal at London 2012, where BWF had disqualified eight players for “not using best efforts” and “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport”.
BWF in December last year has also earned the International Sport Federation of the Year Award. The award sought to recognise the most innovative sporting initiative in the field of transparency and integrity. The sport in true sense has become global with balance of power shifting out from the clutches of China. Spaniard Carolina Marin and India’s PV Sindhu playing for the 2016 Rio Olympics women’s singles crown is a testimony to this fact.
On the commercial front, BWF under Hoyer Larsen has executed and eight-year Media and Sponsorship rights agreement with the Chinese Company Wanda for major events. Tournaments covered under the agreement include the Sudirman Cup, Thomas and Uber Cup Finals and the World Championships, as well as the revamped BWF Series – encompassing the current BWF World Super Series and Grand Prix Gold events – which will be re-launched for the 2018 season. The agreement with Wanda marks the first time the BWF has worked with a single partner for both media and sponsorship rights distribution.
The deal has been struck with Wanda’s subsidiary InFront Sports & Media, which will support the governing body with its television production operations. This will provide host broadcast, post-production and broadcaster servicing across all of the BWF’s major events.