Major change to Badminton Ireland under-age group rules for 2017/18

Board Decision

After much discussion, consultation and deliberation, and in order to preserve the objective, rankings-based team selection process, the Board has decided to change the age-related eligibility rules in line with the BE rules. The new rules will apply to all Badminton Ireland-sanctioned under-age Ranked Events (Branch Opens, Nationals, All Ireland Team Events, Interpros, etc.) from season 2017/18. 

How the new rules will operate

Badminton Ireland’s domestic season runs from September to August; under-age players’ groups for BI-sanctioned events, will be determined by their age on 31st December at the end of the year in which the season culminates. For example, to be eligible for a BI-sanctioned event in the 2017/18 season a player must be under 17 on 31 December 2018.

As a result of the impact of the change, Badminton Ireland intends to introduce a new Under 19 Nationals event in early 2018, in addition to the U19 Open event in September 2017, to assist with the transition from under-age to Senior badminton competition.

The table below sets out the eligibility criteria for the new rules:

 Age groupings for Irish events for 2017/18

Final year  Born in

BI events in 2017/18 season

BI events in 2018/19 season

2000

U19

Senior

2001

U19

U19

2002

U17

U19

2003

U17

U17

2004

U15

U17

2005

U15

U15

2006

U13

U15

2007

U13

Rationale for the change

In making the change to the rules the Board considered the following:

1. Make no change:  If the Board made no change then we would need a new system for selecting players for Irish Teams and other overseas events e.g. Nottingham.  Since any new system won’t be based on points/rankings (because a number of players eligible under the current rules to play in Irish underage events – and therefore accumulate ranking points – would not be eligible for selection for Irish teams under the BE rules), it will be subjective and demonstrably less transparent – and very much a retrograde step.

2. Adopt the BE rules for BI-sanctioned events:  If the Board adopted the BE rules then players could be eligible to play for the first part of the season i.e. August-December but ineligible to play the rest of the season – from January to June.  This would result in many challenges including distortion of ranking points and tournament seeding’s over the course of a season.

3. For BI sanctioned events adopt a variation of the BE rules (in line with GB), that Junior players must be under age throughout the season in which a tournament is played:  This option has no impact for the majority of underage players and Irish, and other overseas’, Team selections would be based on the current, points based system.  For the transition season (2017/18) Transition Year there will be a negative impact – albeit for a subset of the underage players involved in competing at the top level of underage play:  specifically players in their “second year” underage would not now be eligible to compete in their age category – a year when, under current rules, they might expect to have the best opportunity to win a National Title and/or represent Ireland in international competition.  Since the change is most impactful for the U17 players, the Board decided to introduce a new Under 19 Nationals event in early 2018, in addition to the U19 Open in September 2017.

4. For all events in Ireland adopt a variation of the BE rules (in line with GB), that Junior players must be under age throughout the season in which a tournament is played:   The Board felt that this option would have a very significant impact on all under-age players and administrators at all levels.

5. For all under-age events in Ireland adopt the BE rules – and the Calendar Year as the badminton Season in line with BE:  The Board felt that this change, would have an ever greater impact for all junior players and administrators, and, even if it was desirable, it could not be implemented in any reasonable timeframe.