The Badminton World Federation has successfully completed a review process of the BWF Tournament Calendar for 2021, as well as procedures for reopening the BWF World Rankings and vital information related to qualification and seedings for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
BWF can also announce a COVID-19 Support Package for tournament hosts that provides financial assistance and details cost relieving initiatives to ensure tournaments can continue to be part of the HSBC BWF World Tour and BWF Tour in 2021.
These decisions were ratified at the recent BWF Council Session, with numerous Member Association hosts consulted during the confirmation process.
The new-look BWF Tournament Calendar 2021 sees a number of tournaments postponed from Q1 and Q2, and a handful of Grade 2 tournaments cancelled. Click here for details.
BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund said: “The focus has been to establish cluster tournaments where possible similar to what is planned for the Asian Leg in January in Thailand and we expect to stage a number of tournaments this way to ensure a more feasible tournament programme in 2021.
“The Covid-19 situation continues to provide a challenging environment in which to run international tournaments, and although the hope is that the COVID-19 vaccine may in time create a world with less restrictions, BWF expects that the pandemic will still influence tournament hosting throughout the whole of 2021.”
Major Championships in 2021
BWF can also confirm the TOTAL BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2020 postponed earlier this year will now take place in Aarhus in Week 41 of the season and forms part of a tournament cluster in Denmark alongside the DANISA Denmark Open 2021 in Odense during Week 42.
Regarding the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2021, BWF is in close consultation with the Chinese Badminton Association and the host city of Suzhou to identify a suitable window within the BWF Tournament Calendar 2021. BWF will at the soonest possible opportunity announce further dates for the Mixed Team World Championships when we publish the tournament calendar for the rest of 2021. This will detail the schedule of tournaments following to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Reopening of BWF World Rankings
The BWF World Rankings will reopen following the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2020 being hosted in Week 4 2021. The calculation of the next BWF World Rankings list will be announced on Tuesday 2 February 2021, based on the following principles:
- Tournaments already included in the BWF World Rankings list as of 17 March 2020 will remain.
- Tournaments counting for the BWF World Rankings hosted after 17 March 2020 will be added to the BWF World Rankings list being calculated for 2 February 2021.
- Tournaments sanctioned as world ranking tournaments going forward after 2 February 2021 will be added weekly.
- No tournaments already included in the BWF World Rankings from 17 March 2020 will be dropped off the rankings until a date to be announced. The BWF World Rankings will be in a transition period and will consist of tournaments from more than 52 weeks. The exact drop-off methodology to reestablish a 52-week World Rankings list is still to be determined and will be announced in due course, but with advance notification.
The BWF World Rankings from 2 February 2021 will thereafter be used for M&Q and seeding.
Restart of the Race to Tokyo
As previously announced, the Olympic Qualifying period for the Race to Tokyo will restart in 2021 and the first tournament counting for qualification will be the YONEX Swiss Open 2021 in Week 9.
The qualification period will be extended until Week 19 with the Indian Open being the last tournament in the qualification period. Qualification will be determined from the Race to Tokyo Rankings published on 18 May 2021. BWF Council decided that this will also be used for seedings the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.
Please refer to the enclosed calendar where tournaments counting for the Race to Tokyo rankings are marked (i.e. only tournaments planned to take place in 2020 within the original Olympic Qualification period).
The qualification period will be extended until Week 19, and the India Open 2021, an HSBC BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament, will be the last tournament in the qualification period. The extension of the qualification period is due to the extra time requirements needed to conduct tournaments with the COVID-19 safety protocols.
The qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be determined from the Race to Tokyo Rankings on 18 May 2021.
BWF is working with the IOC to update the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualification system whereby the final updated regulation will be shared mid-January following formal approval by the IOC.
Lund said: “These deadlines have been set due to the uncertain nature of COVID-19 and the extra time needed to conduct tournaments with the COVID-19 safety protocols required.”
Tournament Host Support Package
In view of the financial impact upon tournament hosts and the particular way tournaments have to be set up to ensure the health and safety of all participants, BWF Council approved a BWF COVID-19 Support Package offering financial assistance and cost relieving initiatives to ensure tournaments can continue to be part of the HSBC BWF World Tour and BWF Tour in 2021. Click here for details.
Lund added: “The support will help hosts cover the costs of implementing BWF COVID-19 protocols which includes testing, arrangements around hotel safety, cleaning, provisions of face masks to participants, and sanitising equipment.
“There is also the possibility to reduce total minimum prize money for 2021 in the effort to reduce costs, but BWF would encourage all hosts to keep minimum prize money levels as high as possible for the benefit of our top players.”