The Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM and Lee Chong Wei defended the decision to prohibit professional shuttlers from donning rival sponsors' attire after Wong Tat Meng and Lee Zii Jia rejected their training invite.

This came after Wong said Zii Jia won’t train at the ABM due to a sponsorship conflict as conveyed by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to the professional shuttlers.

Outgoing ABM chief executive officer Michelle Chai said while there can be room for discussion, the national body needed to adhere to its contractual obligations.

“For those [professional] shuttlers coming to train at ABM, they cannot have conflict with the BAM sponsors. For racquet and shoes, they can use their sponsor’s apparels. There is no issue.

“But they cannot use t-shirt and shorts of conflicting sponsors. There are certain issues in the contract where it is difficult for us to be flexible,” she said.

Chong Wei also sided with the ABM in this situation.

“In this case, you have to respect the national body. If you feel it is a problem and you can’t meet the requirements, don’t come,” he told New Straits Times.

The former world number one also clarified the situation when he was still playing under the sponsorship of Yonex, while the national body were with Victor.

“I was part of the national team and already had a sponsorship deal with Yonex. Prior to Victor’s arrival as the new sponsor, I had already consulted with Norza Zakaria [BAM president] regarding the matter.

“In Zii Jia’s case, he did not have a personal sponsorship with Victor while he was still a national player. He quit the national team to join them,” he added.

For the record, Yonex now sponsors the BAM, while Zii Jia is sponsored by Victor.

The world number 13 will face Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie at the world meet in Copenhagen, Denmark beginning next Monday.