Badminton in the United States at Risk of Decertification for Failing Safe-sport Policies

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Yesterday, shockwaves went through the Badminton community in the United States as the Paralympic and Olympic Committee started the decertification process of the sport. The decertification process was launched because the U.S.A. Badminton Federation failed to meet up with the requirements to protect players from sexual abuse.

The Fate of the U.S.A. Badminton Program

In 2018, an audit showed that the Badminton federation in the United States showed that certain policies related to background checks and safe-sport training where not put in place to protect athletes. This year, there was a follow-up audit that revealed that these policies have still not been put in place.

To this end, Serah Hirshland, the CEO of USOPC, sent an open letter to the United States badminton community which outlined the entire decertification process for the California-based badminton team, Anaheim. The letter stated that even if the decertification may lead to uncertainty, it is still better than allowing the California-based badminton federation to continue with the status quo. In her words; “Our athletes deserve to be treated better and we must make sure that everyone meets up with set standards. Organizations that don’t meet up with these standards must be held accountable.”

While the USOPC may seem strict, it is important to note that they are also under scrutiny because of the prevalence of sex-abuse scandals in the industry over the last few years. Last year, the USOPC initiated decertification for the United States Gymnastics organization. However, after the organization filed for bankruptcy, the process was put on hold.

As part of its efforts to create a safe environment, the USOPC has introduced several governance reforms and rewritten the responsibilities required for governing bodies. The California-based badminton federation has already started initiating some of these reforms in its governing body. It’s not clear if the decertification process will be completed.

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