Eight disqualified in badminton
Four women's doubles pairs have been disqualified from the Olympic badminton competition after deliberately trying to lose matches.
- Related Content
The eight players all conceded points on purpose in their final group matches in an attempt to manipulate the draw for the knockout stage of the London 2012 event at Wembley Arena.
The Chinese top seeds, two pairs from South Korea and another from Indonesia were all effectively found guilty of match-fixing following a disciplinary hearing by the Badminton World Federation.
They were replaced in the quarter-finals by the pairs who finished third and fourth in the two groups affected by the scandal.
The Koreans failed to overturn the decision after lodging an appeal, while the Indonesians withdrew their attempt to contest the charges.
BWF secretary-general Thomas Lund said: "The regulations clearly state you have to win every match and you cannot throw some matches to win other matches.
"There's no two ways about that and that is what the disciplinary committee found in the principles of the Olympic spirit.
"The disqualification is from this event and there are no further punishments from now on."
The fiasco had its roots in the unexpected loss of China's second seeds Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei to Denmark's Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen early on Tuesday.
Top seeds Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang then tried to engineer defeat against Korea's Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na to avoid finishing top of Group A and going into the same half of the last-eight draw as their compatriots.
The Koreans rumbled the ruse and vainly tried to copy it in retaliation before the second Korean pair, Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung, went a step further by refusing to play properly against Indonesia's Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii.
The Indonesians did not prove innocent bystanders either as they tried to deny them their objective by attempting the same thing.
Serves were hit straight into the net or out of court and other shots put wide. The large evening crowd were incensed and booed almost every defective shot.
The farcical events led to fierce criticism of the competition's group format. Most major international tournaments are run on a straight knockout basis.
Lund said the criticism would be looked at constructively.
He said: "The group phase has generally been a tremendous success for this tournament.
"It has created really good matches, really good stories and a lot of matches we have never seen before.
"But we also have to be clear there has been a problem here.
"We need to take that problem very seriously and that will go into the debriefing at the end of these Olympic Games."
An investigation began soon after the matches were completed and disciplinary proceedings were instigated in the small hours.
The disqualifications were announced early afternoon and the results of the appeals not long before the quarter-finals were due to begin.
Lund denied suggestions the BWF's process had taken too long.
He said: "We felt it was important to deal with this swiftly and ensure due process was taken in a way that was of the best interest to the players.
"We warned all the players in the two groups involved that they would possibly have to play today.
"They were always kept informed so they could prepare themselves in the best way possible."
The affair has resulted in a blaze of negative publicity for the sport but Lund played down the embarrassment factor.
He said: "I don't think I would use the word embarrassed.
"We are very sorry this has happened, for the players and the sport.
"But the most important thing is we have dealt with the issue.
"I don't think this will affect our status as an Olympic sport."
Lund said it was not for the BWF to decide whether the players' Olympic accreditation should now be revoked.
No decision has been made on that matter by the International Olympic Committee but the individual countries could take their own action.
In another twist to the saga, India accused Japanese pair Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa, the fourth seeds, of throwing their match against Chinese Taipei's Cheng Wen Hsing and Chien Yu Chin.
Fujii and Kakiiwa's unexpected loss denied India's Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa a quarter-final place.
Coach Pullella Gobi Chand said: "In Group B, Taipei had to and wanted to win, but Japan wanted to lose to be second in the group to avoid China.
"Just because it's subtle and the crowd didn't make a noise, the TV didn't make a noise, doesn't mean it didn't happen."
An official complaint was made but rejected by the BWF due to lack of evidence.
Lund said: "There has been no referee's report or match reports whatsoever. Scoresheets have been gone through and the case has been rejected."