2020 Malaysia Open will be held only if BWF fund it, say BAM

Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia returns a shot to Viktor Axelsen of Denmark at the All England Open tournament in March. (AP pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: This year’s Malaysia Open will only be held if it gets funding from the Badminton World Federation (BWF), said Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Mohamad Norza Zakaria.

He said that BAM secretary-general Kenny Goh would meet the BWF soon to discuss the matter before a decision is made on whether to proceed with the tournament.

“For now, it is almost certain that it will not be held because the cost is too high. If BWF become the sponsor, then it will proceed,” he said after chairing the BAM management committee meeting at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) today.

BAM have been given the green light to host the BWF World Tour Super 750 category tournament, provided it is held behind closed doors.

That will surely hit BAM financially, especially as it might cost more than RM4 million to host the tournament and with most of the world’s leading shuttlers set to skip this year’s edition due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The tournament, which offers total prize money of A$750,000 (about RM3.2 million), was initially set to be held from March 31 to April 5, but the BWF rescheduled their 2020 calendar due to the pandemic and the dates were changed to November.

In another development, Norza said BAM would hold an internal tournament involving all the players at ABM in mid-August.

He said although the competition format had yet to be confirmed, the players would still get the feel of playing in a real tournament.

“This internal tournament needs to be held as there are no international-level competitions scheduled for the next six months. It will involve all the senior, back-up and eight professional players training at the ABM,” he said.