The BWF has received feedback from various parties with regards to the introduction of Rule 19.2 of the General Competition Regulations which require female players to wear skirts or dresses for Level 1 to 3 tournaments. This specific regulation has its genesis in the extensive review into the marketing and events structure conducted by an external international marketing agency in 2009.
The BWF has developed guidelines to go alongside the new Regulation, to ensure that it will not in any way discriminate against any religious or other beliefs and respects women. Players will continue to wear shorts if they wish but simply wear a skirt over the top of the shorts, as is often practiced already by some players.
Many players have supported the intention of the rule, but some have asked why it is necessary to make a regulation.
“Sometimes it is necessary to make rules to get a consistent implementation. BWF have for many years encouraged both Badminton clothing manufacturers and players to produce and wear clothing that would enhance the presentation of the game in general,” said BWF Deputy President Paisan Rangsikitpho.
“We are however always willing to listen to the players, which is why we have decided to delay the implementation date slightly to 1 June to be able to advise and have a dialogue with the players on the implementation guidelines.”
Rangsikitpho also added that the one-month extension will provide an opportunity for its Members to fully understand the reasons behind the new rule leading up to its 28 May AGM in Qingdao, China.
The new rule was supposed to be enforced on 1 May 2011. But with the one month extension, the first tournament with these rules will therefore be in June at the Singapore Open, part of the OSIM BWF World Superseries.
Some of the steps already initiated to raise the profile of women in Badminton are offering equal prize money for men and women disciplines, standardized 21-point rally system for men and women disciplines and equal male and female participation across the events offered – men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
Former world champion Nora Perry, who also heads the BWF Women in Badminton Working Group, welcomed the new rule.
“I am thrilled to be part of putting the women’s game higher on the agenda in the BWF. And the new clothing regulations are one of the tools that can help create a better presentation and more distinct profile of the women’s game”, said Perry.
“We need to be able to differentiate the women’s game to create the attention that the women’s game deserves. Being a woman myself I do not think that the rules in any way discriminate against women. The rules give sufficient room for the players to chose comfortable clothing and still be living up to the intentions of the regulations.”