Disgraced shuttler says BWF has no solid evidence against him.
An emotional Zulfadli Zulkifli claimed he is a victim of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) and will seek justice to clear his name over match-fixing allegations.
At a press conference at the One World Hotel business centre in Petaling Jaya today, the 25-year-old also apologised to all Malaysians for the negative publicity over the issue but insisted he was innocent.
The BWF recently served him with a 20-year ban, effectively putting an end to his career as a professional badminton player.
“I would like to humbly apologise to all Malaysians, my family, and my fellow badminton players for the shame and humiliation the BWF decision against me has brought to others.
“I am not apologising for match-fixing for I did not do it. I am apologising because of the decision of BWF against me. I am not admitting to the charges against me,” he said.
He accused the BWF of unfairly sentencing him, as they had no solid evidence against him.
The former world junior champion (2011) said he will seek the help of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and Youth and Sports Ministry to pay the fine and to appeal to the world body.
On Tuesday (May 2), the BWF Ethics Hearing Panel slapped Zulfadli with a 20-year-ban for “actual and attempted match- and point-fixing” which was “for the purposes of betting”.
The panel also served a 15-year ban on Tan Chun Seang for the same offence.
They were fined US$25,000 (RM98,000) and US$15,000 (RM59,000) respectively. The bans cover administrative, coaching, officiating, or developmental functions.
After a two-year investigation, the BWF said it had enough evidence of match-fixing between 2013 and 2016, including text messages.
According to Zulfadli, the WhatsApp conversations between him and Chun Seang, which was used as evidence, was, in fact, a discussion about sponsorship and their gambling at a casino.
“My conversation with Chun Seang was about our sponsorship deal as we are both professional players. It was also about our betting at a casino.
“I believe most players around the world would visit a casino when they have the time.
“I deny being involved in match-fixing. In fact, the BWF cannot single out which match I had supposedly fixed, as they cannot give me an answer when asked,” said Zulfadli.
“I asked them repeatedly during the hearing which particular match they claimed I threw and the answer never came,” he asserted.
“I was questioned by a former Scotland Yard investigator named, Paul Scotney, who wouldn’t or couldn’t tell me which matches I fixed. When Scotney was cross-examined, he said there was no need to investigate the issue further as he was of the opinion I was guilty of match-fixing”
Zulfadi then asked how he was meant to defend himself when the investigator would not specify his offences.
He claimed another witness, an Indian player, told the hearing that Zulfadi did not make any direct suggestions or offers and that he only reported the matter as a precaution.
Zulfadi urged the BAM and the Youth and Sports Ministry to intercede on his behalf.
The BWF said both players have the option to appeal.