4 Chinese badminton players hit with bans for 'not trying hard enough'
The four players are guilty of breaking anti-corruption rules by failing to try their best in a doubles match, the BWF said.
Four Chinese badminton players have been handed suspended bans for not trying to win.
He Ji Ting, Tan Qiang, Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen have been punished for their role in a men's doubles match from 2018, the BWF said in a statement on Friday.
The questionable match took place at the Fuzhou China Open in 2018 when Li and Liu faced He and Tan in the quarterfinals. That neither side was trying to win was clear to many watching - including fellow badminton player HK Vittinghus.
"Another absolutely embarrassing all Chinese match - Li/Liu vs He/Tan. Four players putting in zero effort to make it look like they actually play for it. Embarrassing for our sport once again," he had said on social media then.
Reacting to the ban five years since the incident on Friday, he commented: "I think it might be a cultural thing actually. They view it as a team sport, so doing what's best for the team, in this case China, is always right for them."
Two other charges, including that they sought to fix the outcome of the match, were dismissed by the independent panel investigating them due to a lack of evidence. The players had denied all the charges.
The four players' sentences have been suspended for two years, which means the bans will take effect if there are any repeat offences within two years.