Badminton England’s chief executive Adrian Christy has called for financial support from the United Kingdom Government after the latest measures to battle COVID-19 put the All England Open Badminton Championships under threat.
The tournament is one of badminton’s most prestigious and is the oldest on the circuit, having been held since 1899.
A ban on spectators at sporting events due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, after these restrictions were eased in August, has recently been reintroduced by the Government.
Christy has requested £1 million ($1.28 million/€1.1 million) in support to protect the All England Championships and badminton in the country.
Next year’s event is scheduled for between March 17 and 21 at Arena Birmingham.
“Given the unprecedented times we continue to live in, we have planned for a number of scenarios as it has become increasingly clear that the 2021 Championships could come under threat,” said Christy.
📢 Return to Play 📢
Following Govt. update, we can confirm badminton is unaffected:
🏸 Players must remain in groups of 6
🏸 Coaching ratios and junior rules unchanged
Keep our sport open by following the guidance!
— Badminton England (@BadmintonEnglnd) September 23, 2020
“The Government announcement means that we must prepare for the fact that fans may not be able to attend if things do not improve over the next six months.
“My number one priority has to be sustainability of Badminton England, particularly at this time, and the All England Championships is a major part of our economy.”
Badminton England has already reported losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to the postponement and cancellation of most sporting events after March 2020.
Christy also stated that a Championships without fans would lead to total losses during the pandemic rising to £1.75 million ($2.2 million/€1.9 million) in the current financial year.
In April, Badminton England withdrew as hosts of the 2021 European Mixed Team Championships due to financial concerns.
This year’s All England Championships barely managed to beat the coronavirus shutdown after going ahead in March.