Olympic Badminton disqualifications - fair or not?
I'm sure everyone heard about the eight badminton players that were disqualified for 'throwing games':
BBC Sport - Olympics badminton: Eight women disqualified from doubles
The gist of it is that in the final group stage matches of the badminton tournament, the Chinese, Indonesian and South Korean teams tried to manipulate the quarter final draw/lineup by attempting to lose against each other. All very bizarre and I can't remember seeing anything like it recently.
Did make me think though, are they really to blame for 'playing the game'? On the one hand they were literally playing the game, not breaking any rules, not cheating explicitly in the actual games they were playing; but then on the other hand they were also 'playing the game' by deliberately attempting to lose in an attempt to manipulate the quarter final match line up - not playing in the spirit of the Games essentially.
But surely it's part OF the game to use any tactic possible to assure yourself the best possible result, so long as you stay within the rules? If anything is to blame for the farce the other night then surely it's the rules surrounding the way that tournament draws are written up?
I can't understand why tournament 'brackets' are done the way they're done though come to think of it... wouldn't it be fairer to pick the initial bracket lineups (ie quarter final lineups in this case) randomly, why don't they do that? ie after the group stages, the top 2 teams (or whatever) are all entered into a random draw to determine who plays who in the quarter final stages - that way there's no opportunity to 'game' the draw system surely?
Anyway... all very interesting, any thoughts?
So if a similar thing had happened in football - players deliberately missing by stupid amounts - would that have been ok?
I say fair-play to the IOC for canning them out, imagine the poor sods who paid to go and watch it. I've just been watching some highlights of it, shocking.
Having said that munk is right to an extent if they set it (the draw system) up better that kind of behavior would be eliminated.
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It's a good point though from westv, the same thing could technically happen in football or any other sport, maybe it's the dynamic of having just two players on each team that makes it easier to justify the 'cheating'/manipulation (whereas if you're an individual or on a team then it's harder to justify it maybe).
I'm not saying I think they shouldn't have been thrown out (I actually think they probably should have gone and think it's brilliant for the teams that finished 3rd/4th in the groups ), just playing devils advocate really... they didn't technically break any of the rules and they were just playing a tactical game to help them progress further more easily. That said... have to admit they do fall foul of the fundamental 'spirit of the law' rule I suppose...
Yes it has happened in football.
Back in 1982 West Germany played Austria in the final group game. Since Algeria and Chile played the day before, if West Germany won by 1 or 2 goals then both would qualify for the next round. West Germany took the lead after 10 minutes and then not much happened so both teams qualified. After this game, FIFA decided to play the final group games simultaneously to prevent it from happening again.
Earlier this year, Celta Vigo played Cordoba and knowing a draw would benefit both teams. The game ended 0-0, with NO (!) shots on goal, no corners, no bookings and 1591 completed passes (Fix! Was Celta Vigo 0 - Cordoba 0 the most corrupt match in football history? | 101GG Football news)
One could argue that playing a reserve team or an under-strength team in a Carling Cup match or in a EL/CL group game that was already won, or in the league before an important European match is similar. If a relegation side comes puts out a weakened team against a top club they are effectively handing them 3 points. Similarly if a top club puts out a weakened team against a relegation side, they could be affecting who gets relegated. Some argue, well Man Utd reserves beat them anyway, but that is not the point, as we saw from the CL this season the better team does not always win.
The issue came from the format of the competition. They should have done as Munk suggested, either a draw at the end of the groups, or else played both games simultaneously. Having group stages in Badminton is a stupid idea anyway.
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I can sort of see where the athletes are coming from, as an athlete myself. I would often save my energy in heats and semi-finals and try and expend as little as possible to get to a final. However that is very different to what the badminton players have done here, where they have deliberately tried to lose. Its basically as bad as a team throwing a football game by delierately not trying and scoring own goals.
Hypothetically imagine if it was england in the world cup. We had already qualified from the group, but wanted to avoid say brazil in the next round, so we throw the last qualifying game to finish second in the group. It would be utterly shameful, and isnt what sport is about.
Saving your energy for latter rounds is one thing, throwing a game is a different matter altogether. Its against the spirit of the olympics and has no place in it. As a sportsman myself I don't think I could live with myself if I threw a game.
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Originally Posted by horsekeeper
I'm wondering if perhaps that's what was happening anyway with the badminton - they were playing the final group stage matches simultaneously but because they were in the same hall they could all keep an eye on the scores and start playing naff when they saw a chance to manipulate the draw... that's what it looked like from the shots that I saw, some of the play seemed very good but then you'd get spells where they would just blatantly go all out to lose points.
@moneyjon - I think it's hard comparing it with other sports maybe... horsekeeper pointed out some good points about how in football you can legitimately 'throw' a game anyway if you want to by just fielding a poor/reserve side... in athletics it's slightly different again if you're an individual because it would be very hard to know for sure that someone deliberately 'threw' a heat (not sure if the same situation could arise in athletics anyway on the track?).
Like you say though it is all about the spirit of the games isn't it... you could see little bits of the souls of some of the badminton players being eaten away with each 'round' of jeering from the crowds, they knew what they were doing was bad for the sport, but continued to do it even after being warned they might be disqualified if they carried on. Probably the right decision (although I think maybe they should have been disqualified on the night rather than there being a delay until the following day as was the case).
Last edited by munk; 02/08/2012 at 13:24.
I think the way they went about it was the problem, you could understand if they hadn't gone for it a 100%, but to put no effort in at all was disgusting. As wobbler said people had paid to go and watch it. I would of been embarrased to play like that, although it wasn't against the rules, you would of thought they would want to win by playing at their best, not trying to take the easiest route.
I think it was right that they were disqualified, but think they should make sure it's against the rules in future, so there is no excuse for doing it.
Im not sure it was massivley different to putting out a weaker team for a cup football match wanting/knowing you will lose it so you can focus on the league. That happens multiple times year in and year out.
As swift says it was the way they went about it and that people had paid good money to watch them put in no effort what so ever.
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