Chinese badminton superstar Lin Dan, a two-time Olympic champion, has accused his super league club of failing to pay him and six others for the 2016-2017 season. He has threatened his club Guangzhou Yueyu with legal action, saying he and other members of the team had not been paid for their participation in the China Badminton Super League.
He leveraged the power of his massive social media following to demand unpaid wages of 4 million yuan (INR 3.72 Cr) from his China Badminton Super League club. He took to twitter-like Chinese microblogging site Weibo to lambast the team in front of his 3.6 million followers.
“It is chilling that so far all the athletes have not received salaries,” read the statement.
“We athletes in order not to affect the collective honour, still insisted on completing matches despite not being paid. We have communicated many times with the club to pay the salaries and so far their attitude is really frustrating and disappointing. For the club to win honour while we get nothing, please do not let our sweat flow white!
“We solemnly declare that the Guangzhou Yueyu Badminton Club’s Mr Gao jun and Mr Fu Xun respect the athletes and pay the full salaries … or we will take legal means to defend our rights and interests!”
Lin’s post had garnered some 87,000 ‘likes’ and 19,000 comments on Weibo. “Resolutely safeguard the rights and interests of athletes,” said the most popular comment. “Lin Dan isn’t just protecting himself he’s also looking after his ‘younger brothers’.”
Another six of the club’s players all posted the same statement on their Weibo accounts.
According to state-run Guangzhou Daily, team chairman Gao Jun, who is also the head coach, said the club has also failed to pay the coaching team and the rest of the Chinese players.
Gao said the club has turned its operation rights to a separate firm run by the club’s manager Fu Xun.
“It’s not very good that we didn’t give (salaries) for so long. But we are not avoiding this problem either,” news portal Tencent sports quoted Fu Xun as saying.
The China Badminton Super League is a lucrative competition run by the China Badminton Association with some top-tier sponsors featuring the best Chinese players and several foreign stars.