New Delhi, June 5
With age fraud and fudging proving a big problem at the domestic level, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) on Monday announced significant steps to tackle the problem. In case, someone fails to get the discrepancies in their age records corrected within the amnesty period, the player could be suspended for two years.
The BAI believes its steps will eradicate age fraud and falsification in registered players' records with the introduction of the Voluntary Age Rectification Scheme (VARS).
"This proactive initiative aims to rectify any discrepancies in age records and ensure fair competition in the sport," the BAI said in a release, claiming that under the VARS, players falling under various scenarios will have the opportunity to rectify their age records before June 25, 2023.
The BAI has listed various scenarios in which age correction can be done.
In cases when the Date of Registration is within 1 year of the Date of Birth and of people born at an Institution (Hospital, Health facility, Nursing home, etc.) it will be termed as A1 Case Type.
The discrepancy could be corrected when the Date of Registration is within 1 year of the Date of Birth including players born at home, in a public place, hotel, dharamshala, hostel, moving vehicle, or any other place not covered in Case Type A1.
Changes can be made when the Date of Registration is more than 1 year of the Date of Birth and the person is born at an Institution (Hospital, Health facility, Nursing home, etc. -- Case Type B1).
The other scenarios include players that have been adopted or foreign-born nationals.
To discourage fraudulent cases, the BAI has established penalties for proven age fraud. The Age Fraud Committee, authorized by BAI, will determine the appropriate quantum of penal action against guilty players. The recommended penal actions will be executed by the Secretary of BAI.
In cases where players have discrepancies in their age records, a VARS window of 20 days has been provided from June 6-25, 2023. During this period, players can submit a written application along with all necessary documents and particulars to BAI, the association informed in a release on Monday.
The BAI will endeavour to process these applications within 15 days from receipt, during which time the player will not be allowed to participate in any recognized tournament. However, if BAI fails to process the application within the stipulated period, the player will be permitted to participate in tournaments until the case is resolved, provided they cooperate with the enquiry process, the BAI said.
For players who do not avail themselves of the VARS amnesty scheme and are subsequently found guilty of age fraud, their BAI ID will be made inactive for 2 years. These guilty players will be banned from participating in authorized badminton tournaments across the country for 2 years, including local, district, state, All India, national, and international tournaments conducted by BAI and its state units.
Furthermore, parents or individuals involved in age fraud will face criminal proceedings as an FIR will be lodged against them. Players found guilty of age fraud will be stripped of any rankings, medals, prizes, or sponsorships received in the under-age category. They will only be eligible to participate in Senior (Men and Women) category tournaments after serving the 2-year ban.
Additionally, players who have already availed themselves of VARS but indulge in age fraud again will face a 5-year ban upon confirmation of their fraudulent activities. The BAI will publish periodical circulars to report cases of age fraud, serving as a strong deterrent to potential offenders.
"The Badminton Association of India is committed to maintaining the integrity and fairness of the sport and protecting the rights of genuine players and is confident that this step would go a long way in promoting the right ethics in sports," the BAI release said.