Ko Sung Hyun braces for legal action

Former World Champion Ko Sung Hyun is said to be planning to take legal action against the Badminton Korea Association (BKA) according to a report published today by the Donga […]

Former World Champion Ko Sung Hyun is said to be planning to take legal action against the (BKA) according to a report published today by the Donga Ilbo.  The Korean daily said that the mixed doubles world #3, who announced his from the Korean national badminton team in January, has sought representation to bring action that will challenge a BKA regulation that states that male players with Olympic medals or with world or Asian Games gold medals are barred from competing independently in international ranking events until they reach age 31 (age 29 for female players).

Currently, 37-year-old Lee Hyun Il competes regularly on the international stage with his own sponsor and support staff, but players such as Ko, Lee Yong Dae, Shin Baek Cheol, and Kim Sa Rang have indicated the wish to do the same but cannot due to the BKA rules, according to the Donga article.  The BKA reportedly requested that Ko submit official retirement documentation to the Badminton World Federation () because his continued top 10 ranking means that the BKA is fined US$5,000 every time the player misses a Superseries Premier event but Ko refused, citing his intention to compete independently.

Under current BKA rules, Ko would not be allowed to compete independently until next year, with Lee Yong Dae having to wait until 2019 to receive the same permission, while Shin Baek Cheol would be barred until October 2020.  BWF rules are structured such that the BKA has the last word on whether a player – national team or not – can compete in an international ranking tournament.  Players are not allowed to personally submit event entries for BWF-sanctioned tournaments and must instead ask their national associations to submit entries for them. (for more on that, see here)  There is now quite a list of incidents where the associations have refused to enter players and also made mistakes that sometimes cost players vital ranking points.  What is unknown is how long a list there could be of all the incidents that don’t make the news: the cases where players are resigned to being subject to the authority of their national associations, which has been bestowed upon them by BWF rules.

The Donga article does not mention whether the dispute between Ko and the BKA is related to the national body’s decision to accept the BWF invitation for Ko to compete with Kim Ha Na at the World Championships in Glasgow.

Photo: Yohan Nonotte / Badmintonphoto

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net