BEIJING, July 25 (Xinhua) — The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has decided to introduce third-party linesmen for the first time to judge at the Beijing Olympics, trying to avoid scuffles sparked by biased calls, an official told Xinhua here on Friday. According to Ren Chunhui, executive vice director for Olympic badminton competition venue located at Beijing University of Technology, 2008 Olympics' badminton competition requires 80 linesmen, 70 of which are taken from local pool.
The other 10 linesmen from overseas will be designated to make calls for base lines and side lines during matches between oversea shuttlers and those from the host country China, said Ren.
The over-rule of line calls by chair umpires was brought in to international competitions in 2006 to overcome problems with biased linesmen, and host countries were forced to bring in independent referees and umpires from other countries when running an international event.
However, it will be too costly for host countries to invite oversea linesmen, and too expensive to introduce the hawk-eye line-calling system in badminton matches as well, which has been proved an efficient practice in tennis matches to reduce controversies over bad line calls.
A series of controversial line calls angered China's world No. 1Lin Dan so much that he threw his racket at South Korean coach Li Mao, earning himself a yellow card when he was playing against the eventual winner Lee Hyun-il of South Korea in the final of this year's Korean Open in January.
Such incidents were happening too often, and thus "damaging the image of our sport and undermines confidence in the results," Anne Smillie, chair of the BWF sport committee said in a statement when announcing investigation of the scuffles.