BWF postpones Thomas, Uber Cup Finals to 2021

Saina Nehwal questioned the wisdom of going ahead with the Thomas and Uber Cup in the middle of the pandemic. Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images for Falcon

The Thomas and Uber Cup Finals have been postponed to 2021, with exact dates to be announced, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) announced in a statement on Tuesday.

The decision comes following the withdrawal of several participating nations, including top seeds Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand, from the biennial team competition due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The event -- scheduled to be held in Europe for the first time since 1982 -- was to be played in a biosecure bubble in Aarhus, Denmark, from October 3-11, marking the resumption of international badminton following the suspension of the tour in March. The subsequent Denmark Open, scheduled for October 13-18 in Odense, will go ahead as planned, however. The Denmark Masters, a second event to be held in Odense from October 20-25, has been cancelled.

"BWF, in collaboration with Badminton Denmark, has for many months been preparing for a safe return to international badminton. This includes going to extreme lengths to preserve the health and safety of all participants such as implementing a bubble system to create a safe badminton ecosystem," the statement said.

BWF also said it had to "respect and acknowledge" the choice of teams and players opting not to travel to Denmark for the Thomas-Uber Cup as well as the subsequent Denmark Open.

"These are exceptional circumstances we find ourselves in and while a return to international badminton remains a priority for the BWF, the health and safety of the entire badminton community is of utmost importance.

"Therefore, after lengthy discussions with key stakeholders, commercial partners and participating Member Associations, it has been realised that we are not in a position to deliver the level of competition reasonably expected by fans and all stakeholders, and as a result have decided that we will not stage this year's TOTAL BWF Thomas and Uber Cup Finals on the dates 3-11 October 2020."

BWF said it is looking into possible alternative dates to reschedule the Thomas and Uber Cup, but on dates 'not before into 2021'.

The BWF said the Denmark Open 2020 will be used as an 'opportunity to implement relevant COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Operating Procedures' for the planned restart of international badminton tournaments. As for the Denmark Masters 2020, the federation said it cancelled the tournament as 'it is no longer feasible' to conduct the additional event.

"A study into the continued feasibility of the planned Asian leg of the adjusted HSBC BWF World Tour (three HSBC BWF World Tour tournaments hosted in an Asian location) is being conducted and BWF will make further announcements as soon as details are clarified," the statement concluded.