The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have decided to not register Lee Zii Jia for any tournaments that require the national body’s green light for the next two years begining from Jan 18, following the shuttler’s shock resignation last week.
Women’s singles shuttler Goh Jin Wei was also imposed with a two-year ban, beginning from Oct 21 after initially promising to return to the national body as a mixed doubles shuttler, but later went against her word and decided to play independently.
“As per the terms of his contract, the BAM have decided not to register Lee for any tournaments that require us to do so for two years. This decision was made after concerted efforts were made through informal discussions for him to reconsider, but he stood by his decision.
“Both Lee and Goh can still make an appeal, and if their appeal is not unreasonable, there is a big chance they could return to play again,” said BAM deputy president and chairman for legal advisory committee Dr. Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos.
According to Jahaberdeen, Lee’s verbal reason for withdrawing from BAM was that he “could not stand the pressure and that the lifestyle in BAM was regimented.”
Lee would have stayed on, but on his own terms were deemed unreasonable by the national body.
The All-England champion’s terms were that he wanted his own team of coaches and support services, to plan his own tournaments and to have his own sponsors.
Jaharberdeen said that while BAM were disappointed with Lee’s decision, the national body as an institution was bigger than the players.
“When something like this happens, there are a lot of things that BAM have to do. We have to ensure that not only sponsors are not discouraged by this, but other players too. This is a process that we have to do, and it is not about punishing anyone.
“His decision leaves the perception that others can do the same. We have to ask the question: Do we want to commercialise sports to a certain extent, where national interest takes a backseat to narrow minded personal interest?”
Lee was informed of the BAM’s decision through their response to his resignation letter and through the Kedah Badminton Association.
This decision means that Lee’s career now hangs in tatters and the shuttler will miss out in a big year of badminton that includes the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, Thomas Cup and the World Championships.
If he doesn’t play for the next two years, the world number seven will also see his rankings plummet drastically.