BWF Implements Immediate Ban on Controversial ‘Spin Serve’ in Badminton


The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has made the decision to ban the use of the controversial ‘spin serve’ in the sport until May 29, 2023. The BWF Council approved a proposal for an ‘experimental variation’ to the Laws of Badminton, citing concerns that the new serve could provide an unfair advantage to players. The ban takes immediate effect at all BWF-sanctioned international tournaments, including the upcoming BWF Sudirman Cup Finals 2023 and the Malaysia Masters 2023.

The ‘spin serve’ gained attention in the badminton world after Danish doubles player Marcus Rindshoj showcased it and achieved considerable success at the Polish Open last month. This serve involves holding the cork between the thumb and middle finger and using a carrom strike motion to generate spin. However, many players and officials raised concerns about its potential impact on the game, leading to the BWF’s decision to ban it temporarily.

The amendment to the BWF Laws of Badminton specifically addresses the serve, stating that the server must release the shuttle without adding spin, with the racket initially hitting the base of the shuttle. Any failure to comply with this variation will result in a fault being called.

BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer acknowledged the importance of innovation and experimentation in the sport but emphasized the feedback received from the badminton community, including the BWF Athletes’ Commission, expressing concerns about the ‘spin serve.’ Høyer also noted that the serve shares similarities with the prohibited ‘Sidek serve,’ named after Rashid Sidek. Consequently, an expert panel recommended disallowing the ‘spin serve’ until further consultation could take place during the BWF Annual General Meeting (AGM) on May 27, 2023.

The BWF Council deemed it necessary to implement this experimental variation immediately to prohibit the ‘spin serve’ until further discussions and deliberations take place during their convening on May 29, 2023.

The ban on the ‘spin serve’ aims to ensure fairness and uphold the integrity of the game, as well as provide an opportunity for further examination and consideration of its impact. The BWF recognizes the need to strike a balance between allowing innovation and maintaining a level playing field. The outcome of the upcoming AGM will shed more light on the future of the ‘spin serve’ and its potential place in the sport of badminton.


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