INTERVIEW – Athletes’ Commission on fact-finding mission

The BWF Athletes’ Commission elections have been and gone, and with three new members elected to support the new chair Emma Mason (pictured), Badzine spoke to the commission to find […]

The Athletes’ Commission elections have been and gone, and with three new members elected to support the new chair Emma Mason (pictured), Badzine spoke to the commission to find out what their priorities were for the coming term.

By Michael Burke, Badzine Correspondent.

Badzine: Is there a new message that the committee want to put through with the change of guard?

Emma Mason: The new commission aims to build on the good work of the AC’s before them. We are a dynamic group covering all areas and standards of players (and a few former players too!). We look forward to building a close relationship with all the players. This Commission aims to be the most visible Commission to date, and be a clear entity to whom the players can turn when they wish to discuss issues affecting their professional lives.

Badzine: Are there any particular issues you wish to focus on, for example the number of tournaments required for rankings etc.?

Mason: This question can only really be answered once we have received the opinions of the players themselves. We will focus on the matters that are of most importance to the players; our own personal opinions are only of secondary value.

However, I’m delighted to say that through our new AC members we have been getting a great response from the players. I want to emphasise that we are still open for any further comments and hope we can continue to build on this in the future.

We are currently finding our feet as a commission and are on a fact-finding mission to ascertain what issues are most important to the players at the minute. Of course one of the key areas the players will wish to comment on is the Tournaments themselves; that is only natural as it is the arena in which they work. We are now communicating with the players to find out which specific areas they would like us to voice their opinions on.


Badzine: Now that the voting turnout is far greater, does the commission feel it has more of a mandate than previously?

Mason: We had a fantastic turnout at the elections and this is a clear sign to us that the players are passionate about the issues affecting them and do want to have their voices heard. Having said that, I would say that ‘mandate’ is not the correct word to use here; I would choose instead to say that as the Chair of the new Commission I feel very lucky to have three new members who bring with them the respect and support of a large part of the athlete body. Through them I hope we can uncover the true issues that concern the current players and address those in the best way possible.

I believe our commission has a great mix of ‘old’ and ‘new’ and I look forward to the results that will be achieved with our more experienced members alongside our new ones. Our commission has built a great working relationship with the BWF in the past few years and I fully expect that to continue as we strive to achieve the results the players want.

Badzine: Will the commission support a candidate for the BWF presidency and how will it be decided (or if they’ve already been selected, then who and how did you come to that decision)?

Mason: The AC itself is concerned primarily for the players. We look forward to continuing to work for the players no matter which candidate is elected. Having just been through our own elections we wish all the candidates well!

Badzine: With the big global brands now coming into the sport, badminton is potentially going to reach a much wider audience, how will the commission work to capitalise on this?

Mason: The commission is excited by the direction in which our sport is moving. Badminton is a fantastic sport that we all love and we hope the new changes will bring great opportunities for the players. Of course, we are always here to support them and should any issues arise we will try to help in the best way we can.

With respect to the specific issues we will be dealing with: we have already received some very interesting opinions and issues and will shortly be speaking to the players to gather the information we need. Once we have done that we will need some time to discuss internally before we decide how best to deal with the issues that have been raised.

We would like to emphasize that the AC is still very much open to comment and opinion on any issues affecting the players. Please do not hesitate to get in touch at any point with any of the members.

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We look forward to hearing from you!

Many thanks again to Emma Mason and her fellow Athletes’ commission members who contributed to this interview.

About Michael Burke