Azalina denies making statements


BADMINTON World Federation (BWF) has gently reminded Sports Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (right) that the Olympic charter clearly states that the government should not interfere with international associations.

Azalina had met BWF deputy president Datuk Punch Gunalan and the federation’s former chief operating officer (COO) P. Ganga Rao on Thursday and it was reported that Azalina had asked Gunalan to resign.

There were also rumours that the Malaysian Government may cancel its annual grant of RM500,000 to the BWF and that Azalina had apparently asked the world body to relocate its office.

The minister denies making the statements.

BWF vice-president Robin Bryant said that the federation has always had healthy relationships with various governments and they have had the same with Malaysia.
"We are an international federation and we maintain a good relationship with governments, including Malaysia, and we are looking forward to a cooperation," said Bryant yesterday.

"The Olympic charter stresses that international associations should be free of government interference.

"The relocation of office has never been considered and if at all there is a motion, it must be done during our Annual General Meeting (AGM) and must be approved by our delegates."

Gunalan admitted that Azalina had given some views and her advice on the current matter but refused to confirm his resignation was something she had mentioned.

"Azalina gave her views and advice, she has done previously, and I respect her views and also thank her for doing so. However, it is not fair to reveal my conversation with her," said Gunalan.

"I may be able to share what she had said if she is with me now. It was supposed to be a private conversation and I believe it should stay between us."

Gunalan also defended the decision to relocate the office to Kuala Lumpur as it’s in the best interest for the growth of badminton worldwide, and it would also raise Malaysia’s profile internationally.

He also said that there will be an administrational revamp in BWF and stated he will continue his executive duties until a COO is appointed.

Gunalan also brushed off claims that badminton is in danger of losing it’s place in the Olympics after the 2012 London Games.


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