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  • USOPC statement regarding latest Section 8 complaint against USA Badminton


    November 12, 2019

    To all USA Badminton athletes, and the badminton and Para-badminton community in the
    United States:

    I’m writing to let you know that earlier today, I filed a complaint against USA Badminton
    under Section 8 of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s bylaws. In filing
    the complaint, the USOPC is seeking to revoke USA Badminton’s recognition as the
    National Governing Body for badminton and Para-badminton in the United States and has
    offered USAB the option of voluntarily surrendering its recognition.

    This isn’t a step I’ve taken lightly, but it is a necessary one and in the best interest of the
    athletes we serve. We have set high standards in order to associate with the Olympic and
    Paralympic movements in the United States, and we must hold organizations accountable
    when they don’t live up to those standards.

    In 2018, a compliance audit highlighted a number of troubling findings, several of which
    remained unresolved during a follow-up review that was conducted earlier this year. The
    2019 follow-up report, which also identified additional compliance issues not referenced in
    the 2018 audit, can be found here. We have attempted to work with USAB’s leadership
    over the course of the last year to address our concerns, however those efforts have not
    yielded the results necessary to give me confidence in USAB’s ability to continue to serve
    its athletes as an NGB. We remain committed to working with USAB’s leadership to
    address our concerns but have so far not found a willing partner.

    The next step in the Section 8 process is for me to select an independent, three-person
    hearing panel with representatives from the USOPC board of directors, the NGB Council
    and the Athletes’ Advisory Council. The panel will next review my complaint and USAB’s
    response, hold a hearing, create a report and a recommendation for the full USOPC
    board, and then the board will take an action.

    A formal timeframe is not described in our bylaws, so I don’t know exactly how long this
    process may take. At minimum, we expect it will take several weeks, perhaps a few

    It is important to note that during this process – and per our bylaws – USAB will continue
    to operate as a fully recognized member NGB of the USOPC. We are not shutting down
    USAB. Nor is the USOPC taking over USAB. In the immediate term there are no changes
    for USAB members or clubs.

    Upon conclusion of the process described above, should USAB lose recognition, its future
    would be decided by the USAB board of directors.

    If USAB loses its recognition, the organization would essentially sever its affiliation with the
    Olympic and Paralympic movements and as such, the USOPC would, on an interim basis,
    assume control of USAB’s high-performance program. This would help ensure that
    Olympic and Paralympic-caliber badminton athletes have the support they need to excel
    on and off the field of play. As part of that oversight, the USOPC would also be
    responsible for ensuring the fair selection of athletes and teams for so-called “protected
    competitions” (i.e. major international competitions like the Olympic and Paralympic
    Games, or qualifying events for the same). The USOPC would remain in that role until a
    new or existing organization has been identified to assume the responsibility of serving as
    the recognized NGB for badminton and Para-badminton.

    Today is the first step in an important process. Recognizing that what follows this process
    isn’t perfectly clear, we have concluded that the uncertainty this will no doubt bring is
    better than allowing the status quo to continue. The athletes deserve better and we simply
    must hold organizations accountable if they can’t meet our standards.

    Finally, we have created a few questions and answers to help address inquiries that have
    been raised about the Section 8 process. Those are available at this link. We hope they
    are helpful and ask for you to reach out to us via email at with any
    questions or concerns.
    Sarah Hirshland

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