The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Badminton World Federation must shoulder some responsibility for the match-throwing scandal at the 2012 Games, Chinese state media said on Friday.
The IOC has asked China, South Korea and Indonesia to investigate four women’s doubles pairs who, in farcical scenes on Tuesday, tried to lose their matches to secure easier draws in the knockout rounds.
The request followed an admission by China’s head badminton coach Li Yongbo that he was to blame after top seeds Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli deliberately played to lose in the opening round-robin phase.
“The Chinese badminton team is at fault but they have not committed a heinous crime. Li Yongbo gave a quick and sincere apology,” said the influential Global Times.
“They deserve criticism and punishment but if the International Olympic Committee and the Badminton World Federation punishment is excessive, and the bureaucrats within those organisations refuse any responsibility, it will arouse resentment.”
Some teams have criticised the round-robin format introduced at the London Games as ripe for manipulation.
In his apology, Li said the poor behaviour of his players reflected the shortcomings of the new schedule although he added it was no excuse for their performance.
Chinese officials have severely “criticised and educated” the team and demanded a public apology, the official Xinhua news agency said earlier, quoting an unnamed spokesperson.
Four players from South Korea and two from Indonesia were also kicked out of the Games.
Yu has already announced her retirement from the sport, slamming the federation for shattering her and her doubles partner’s “dream”.
“Since Yu Yang was little she has been very obedient. I don’t think she would have done it on her own initiative,” state radio quoted her mother Zhou Li as saying.