LONDON (AP) — The IOC could take further action against eight badminton players disqualified for discrediting their sport by trying to lose. They could even be kicked out of the Olympics entirely.
In an interview with The Associated Press, IOC President Jacques Rogge supported the decision by the international badminton federation to disqualify the four women's doubles teams from South Korea, China and Indonesia, but he said he could still intervene "if needed."
"We are in contact with the national Olympic committees to see what action they will take, and then we will decide accordingly," Rogge said.
Asked whether the International Olympic Committee could take its own action, he said: "That is a possibility if needed."
While the players have already been disqualified from the competition, the IOC has the power to formally expel athletes from the Olympics, strip their accreditations and kick them out of the athletes village.
The IOC could also investigate any team officials, coaches or trainers involved in the badminton case.
"The international federation took the right action in disqualifying the athletes, and definitely that was the way to go," Rogge said.
Rogge had been at the badminton venue Tuesday but left shortly before the drama unfolded.
The doubles teams — the top-seeded pair from China, two pairs from South Korea and one from Indonesia — deliberately conceded points in an apparent attempt to lose their round-robin matches to secure a more favorable spot in the next round. Fans booed when it become clear they were trying to lose.
The Badminton World Federation disqualified the players for not giving their best efforts and "conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport."
South Korea and Indonesia appealed, but the BWF rejected the South Korean appeal and the Indonesia challenge was withdrawn. China accepted the federation's decision.
"Sport is competitive," Craig Reedie, IOC vice president and former badminton federation head, told the AP. "If you lose the competitive element, then the whole thing becomes a nonsense.
"You cannot allow a player to abuse the tournament like that, and not take firm action. So good on them."
The eight disqualified players are: world doubles champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang of China; South Korean pairs Jung Kyun-eun and Kim Ha-na, and Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung; and Indonesia's Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii.
Teams blamed the introduction of a round-robin stage rather than a straight knockout tournament as the main cause of the problem. The round-robin format can allow results to be manipulated to earn an easier matchup in the knockout round.