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USOPC Statement Regarding Section 8 Complaint Against USA Badminton

By United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee | Nov. 12, 2019, 3:30 p.m. (ET)

 

USOPC statement regarding Section 8 complaint against USA Badminton:

The following statement is attributable to USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland:

“We have set high standards in order to associate with the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the United States, and we must hold organizations accountable when they don’t live up to those standards. Seeking to revoke recognition is not a decision that the USOPC came to easily, but we believe it is the right and necessary action in the interest of the athletes we all serve.”

Select questions and answers to help address inquiries that have been raised about the Section 8 process can be found here.

Below is an open letter to the badminton and Para-badminton community in the United States.

 

 

To all USA Badminton athletes, and the badminton and Para-badminton community in the United States:

I’m writing to let you know that earlier today, I filed a complaint against USA Badminton under Section 8 of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s bylaws. In filing the complaint, the USOPC is seeking to revoke USA Badminton’s recognition as the National Governing Body for badminton and Para-badminton in the United States and has offered USAB the option of voluntarily surrendering its recognition.

This isn’t a step I’ve taken lightly, but it is a necessary one and in the best interest of the athletes we serve. We have set high standards in order to associate with the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the United States, and we must hold organizations accountable when they don’t live up to those standards.

In 2018, a compliance audit highlighted a number of troubling findings, several of which remained unresolved during a follow-up review that was conducted earlier this year. The 2019 follow-up report, which also identified additional compliance issues not referenced in the 2018 audit, can be found here. We have attempted to work with USAB’s leadership over the course of the last year to address our concerns, however those efforts have not yielded the results necessary to give me confidence in USAB’s ability to continue to serve its athletes as an NGB. We remain committed to working with USAB’s leadership to address our concerns but have so far not found a willing partner.

The next step in the Section 8 process is for me to select an independent, three-person hearing panel with representatives from the USOPC board of directors, the NGB Council and the Athletes’ Advisory Council. The panel will next review my complaint and USAB’s response, hold a hearing, create a report and a recommendation for the full USOPC board, and then the board will take an action.

A formal timeframe is not described in our bylaws, so I don’t know exactly how long this process may take. At minimum, we expect it will take several weeks, perhaps a few months.

It is important to note that during this process – and per our bylaws – USAB will continue to operate as a fully recognized member NGB of the USOPC. We are not shutting down USAB. Nor is the USOPC taking over USAB. In the immediate term there are no changes for USAB members or clubs.

Upon conclusion of the process described above, should USAB lose recognition, its future would be decided by the USAB board of directors.

If USAB loses its recognition, the organization would essentially sever its affiliation with the Olympic and Paralympic movements and as such, the USOPC would, on an interim basis, assume control of USAB’s high-performance program. This would help ensure that Olympic and Paralympic-caliber badminton athletes have the support they need to excel on and off the field of play. As part of that oversight, the USOPC would also be responsible for ensuring the fair selection of athletes and teams for so-called “protected competitions” (i.e. major international competitions like the Olympic and Paralympic Games, or qualifying events for the same). The USOPC would remain in that role until a new or existing organization has been identified to assume the responsibility of serving as the recognized NGB for badminton and Para-badminton.

Today is the first step in an important process. Recognizing that what follows this process isn’t perfectly clear, we have concluded that the uncertainty this will no doubt bring is better than allowing the status quo to continue. The athletes deserve better and we simply must hold organizations accountable if they can’t meet our standards.

Finally, we have created a few questions and answers to help address inquiries that have been raised about the Section 8 process. Those are available at this link. We hope they are helpful and ask for you to reach out to us via email at badminton@usopc.org with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely, 

Sarah Hirshland
Chief Executive Officer