Is Badminton England Violating UK’s Age Discrimination Laws by Excluding No. 1 Pair Chris Langridge/Marcus Ellis from Tokyo Olympics? | Opinion

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Chris Langridge/Marcus Ellis may be victims of age discrimination.(photo: ©Getty Images)
Chris Langridge/Marcus Ellis may be victims of age discrimination.(photo: ©Getty Images)

Opinion Editorial: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of BadmintonPlanet.com.

Although we aren’t lawyers, when Badminton England decided to drop England’s No. 1 men’s pair and current World No. 11 Chirs Langridge (age 36)/ Marcus Ellis (age 31) from its Olympic Squad in favor of the World No. 18 Ben Lane (age 23)/ Sean Vendy (age 25), it seemed obvious that Badminton England has violated the UK’s Equality Act of 2010, being a clear example of direct discrimination by treating someone less favorably because of their age.

The United Kingdom’s Equality Act of 2010 prohibits discrimination based entirely on age, and by favoring the younger Langridge and Ellis completely based on age, Badminton England may have infringed upon the rights of the more experienced Langridge and Ellis who have undoubtedly earned their place at the Olympics on merit through years of dedication and hard work.

To dive a little deeper into the act, the act states that age discrimination isn’t prohibited when it can be “objectively justified”.

For example, an employer could put an upper age limit on a job where there are high levels of physical fitness required that wouldn’t be able to be fulfilled by an older individual. However, it’s hard to see why Langridge and Ellis would meet this considering their previous results compared to Lane and Vendy. Langridge and Ellis’ badminton competition results speak for themselves: they are currently ranked world No. 11 and with a bronze medal from the Rio Olympics under their belts, their credentials are so strong. In contrast, Lane and Vendy, ranked No. 18 in the world and lack comparable achievements on the worldwide level.

Well, then, let’s compare some of their results in major tournaments side by side and let their achievements do the talking.

Chris Langridge/Marcus Ellis
Current World Rankings: World No. 11
BWF Race to Tokyo Rankings: No. 19 but qualified for the Olympics on merit and were ranked No. 13 overall as some men’s pairs ahead of them couldn’t make the Olympics because one country can only send a maximum of two pairs if both were ranked top 8 in the doubles event.
Olympics: Won bronze at Rio Olympics
European Games: Won gold at 2019 Minsk men’s doubles
Commonwealth Games: Won gold at 2018 Gold Coast men’s doubles

Ben Lane/Sean Vendy
Current World Rankings: World No. 18
BWF Race to Tokyo Rankings: No. 25 and do not qualified for the Olympics on merit.
Olympics: None
European Games: None
Commonwealth Games: 2018 Gold Coast – Mixed Team event.
European Junior Championships: Won boy’s doubles silver at 2015 Lubin European Junior Championships

Marcus Ellis himself expressed his frustration and dissatisfaction about Badminton England on Instagram on Saturday, highlighting the lack of transparency and fairness in how Badminton England makes the player selections.

He urged for the push towards accountability and the need for Badminton England to prioritize integrity and fairness in their selection-making process.

His full statement is listed here:

“On the 7th June, I received an email stating that the olympic selection had been carried out by GB badminton and that the team going was listed below. My heart sank into the floor. As the highest ranked player in Great Britain in both mens doubles and mixed doubles by a significant amount, I believed my attendance at the Tokyo olympic games in both disciplines was almost guaranteed. Unfortunately GB Badminton had other ideas. Myself and Chris Langridge were notified by email that we had been deselected and they were instead sending the second ranked british pair.

It is worth noting at this point I have nothing against any players at our national centre (including the lads who have been selected above us).

The following three weeks consisted of 2 appeals and verbal hearings. I was training maybe 25% of my normal volume as I was busy fighting against this decision with Chris and our lawyers. We knew before going into this that appeals are almost impossible to win but given the first appeal was successful and prompted the selection be done again, to me highlights wrongdoings from GB badminton throughout. This whole process has highlighted to me that governing bodies may have too much power and needs to be reviewed.

For this lost preparation in these three weeks, I feel alot of anger towards the association who are supposed to have my best interests at heart.

Chris, who in my opinion has done our sport proud in Britain, did not hear one word from GB badminton staff until two days ago when he received a text message.. How can an olympic Medalist, commonwealth champion and European games champion just be disposed of in this way?

I can’t allow this to happen again and I’m determined to push for positive changes to create a better environment for myself and future players.

I will now do my best to focus on the Olympic games and tackle the bigger issues afterwards.

Thank you for all the kind messages in the last week it means so much to us ❤
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#olympics #tokyo2020 #teamgb #badminton #strongertogether #bwfbadminton”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Marcus Ellis (@marcusellis89)

It’s important to mention that BadmintonPlanet.com have nothing against Lane and Vendy, who truly deserve their place in the sport. Rather, it is about ensuring that all athletes are being treated fairly, and discriminatory practices should not be tolerated, specifically in a popular sport such as badminton.

As spectators and supporters of the sport, BadmintonPlanet.com urge Badminton England to reconsider its decision and uphold the ideas of fairness and equality. The Olympic Games should be a celebration of athletic excellence, not marred by controversy and injustice. It’s time for those who are in charge of the player selection process to be held accountable for their actions and for the integrity of the sport.

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