The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has suspended all BWF World Tour and BWF-sanctioned tournaments from Monday (March 16) to April 12 amid the global escalation of the coronavirus outbreak.
Events affected include the Swiss Open, India Open, Orléans Masters in France, Malaysia Open and Singapore Open, as well as a number of international grade-three tournaments.
A number of those impacted fall within the Tokyo 2020 qualifying period, with the BWF saying it will make a further announcement on regulations related to Olympic Games qualification points at a later date.
The suspension of the circuit will come into effect following the completion of the All England Open Championships in English city Birmingham tomorrow.
“The escalation of the COVID-19 outbreak globally has led the BWF, in close consultation and consensus with its host Member Associations and continental confederations, to cancel or postpone all tournaments in this period due to heightened travel and quarantine restrictions in place and the subsequent extreme logistical complications this causes to the movement of badminton athletes,” a statement from the world governing body reads.
“BWF equally has strong considerations for the health, safety and well-being of all athletes, their entourage, officials and the greater badminton community in general.”
The BWF says both itself and Badminton England have been in constant communication with Government officials and the relevant authorities in relation to any possible disruption to the ongoing All England Open Championships.
“Both parties are satisfied with the British Government’s most recent advisory issued Friday (March 13) morning UK time to continue with the staging of the tournament,” the statement adds.
“Unless Government advice changes, Badminton England remains confident that the robust and comprehensive measures in place before and during the event will minimise the potential risk of the virus.
“BWF duly accepts this position and that all relevant health, safety and logistical risks have been considered by BWF, Badminton England, tournament organisers, and the Local Government in reaching this decision.”
As reported by Agence France-Presse, the decision to suspend all tournaments comes after top badminton players hit out at the BWF, accusing the body of not taking the coronavirus outbreak seriously and putting them in danger by going ahead with international events.
Last month, the BWF said it did not plan on making any changes to the qualification system for Tokyo 2020, despite the coronavirus outbreak interrupting some players’ attempts to qualify.