Li Yongbo, China’s controversial national badminton coach, is concerned that a new domestic league may hurt the country’s success in international competition.
The China Badminton Super League was launched last weekend in an attempt to fulfil a government directive that sport should become more commercial and play a greater role in generating revenue for the economy.
Last year England’s Nathan Robertson revealed to Telegraph Sport that he and Anthony Clark had been sounded out to play in China’s lucrative club league, which was suspended in 2002 due to cash shortages. The duo turned down the offer due to scheduling.
"The national team players have to sacrifice a lot in order to play in the (league)," Li said. "I’m really worried about that.
"Personally, I’m not sure if the league is of value to the national squad," he added.
"Operating a commercial league… will promote the development of the sport. However, the national team’s competitions are likely to be restricted, which shows the new league is a double-edged sword."
An injury to China’s world No 6 Bao Chunlai in his opening match in the new league against world and Olympic champion Lin Dan will not have improved Li’s disposition towards it.
He has ruled that national team players must leave just a day before their league matches and have to return immediately afterwards.
"Despite a break of several days after every round, flying between club and national team duties will exhaust the players’ energy and strength," Li added.
"But we still have to do it as these players have to train together to maintain top form, which is hard to reach during the club competition."
The Li has allowed little to stand in the way of international success for China in the sport, particularly at the Olympics.
He has admitted instructing Ye Zhaoying to lose her women’s singles semi-final at the 2000 Sydney Olympics to compatriot Gong Zhichao, who was considered to have a better chance of beating Dane Camilla Martin in the final.