The significance of the 2006 Badminton rule changes for sport history

IKARUGI Chikako (Konan University)


  This study aims to show how changes in the rules of Badminton in 2006 were first proposed,
what kind of process the final decision-making was based on, and as a result, how the nature of
Badminton has been changed and transformed. It is theoretically based on the concept in Zur Kritik
der Gewalt by Walter Benjamin (1892-1940).
  In 2004, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) established new standards for discussion
about some Olympic events and put restrictions on the structure of the Olympics to prevent
over-expansion. The new standards were in response to requests from the media which the IOC
had already accepted. The IOC intended to develop a close relationship with the media for the
management of the Olympics. As a result, the IBF (International Badminton Federation), which was
aiming to have badminton established as the number one racket sport and included as a permanent
Olympic event, decided to comply with the new standards by changing rules of Badminton.
  According to Benjamin, 'gewalt' is indispensible for the effective functioning of law. Since a new
law is established by 'gewalt', the law inevitably remains closely tied to it and embodies its aim.
In 2004, the IOC set up new standards for the Olympics by exercising the power of 'gewalt' and
required all Olympic sports to comply with these new standards which were intended to respond to
demands from the media. In 2006, the IBF decided to accept the requirements of the IOC and changed
the rules of Badminton in order to make it a permanent Olympic sport. It did so in the manner of
  In 2006, there were three major changes in Badminton; a change of scoring system, service, and
interval. Due to these changes, the times of the games became more manageable, the rules became
easier to understand for many people, and the sport became more exciting for TV viewers. On the
other hand, it became more difficult for players to enjoy the flow of the game itself. In the past,
Badminton had been played during house parties, and thus had a cultural background of being a
recreational and social activity, and this was reflected in its rules. However, the rule changes in 2006
eliminated the social and cultural-related rules from Badminton. Badminton become separated from
its social-cultural background, the demands of the media were accepted, the matches became easier
to manage, and the game became more exciting for the spectators.
  The structure and influence of 'gewalt' in the changes made to the rules of Badminton in 2006
were made clear by this study.