The world body for the sport, the Badminton World Federation (formerly known as International Badminton Federation (IBF) ), was only founded in 1934 however by that time the sport was already well established, played in numerous countries and administered by rules which were not always consistent. By that time, badminton had reached world proportions with national governing bodies in the continents of America, Australasia and Europe.
Variations – Laws of the Game
In the 1860s and 70s, there developed considerable variations in the laws of the game. At that time, badminton was regarded as a pastime and was indulged in by members of the leisured fraternity and by British servicemen and their families on tour in India.
This leisure activity however quickly picked up in popularity in England towards the 1880s when clubs began to emerge and inter-club matches became a regular feature.
Primarily because of its growing popularity and the emergence of diverse rules in the laws of the game, including size of playing courts and equipment, that a meeting was convened in London to bring some uniformity and consistency to the sport.
In 1893 the Badminton Association was founded to which 14 clubs were affiliated. The measurements of the court were agreed upon and a set of laws to govern the playing of the game was adopted. The Association based in England thus became the guardian of the Laws of the game and remained so for some 40 years.
Like most things, the sport did not remain static. More and more clubs began to be established and national associations began appearing in Europe, Australasia and the Americas. As the numbers increased, the Badminton Association which was, to all intents and purposes, English, felt that the time was appropriate that the affairs of the sport had to be handed over to a more ‘internationally representative’ body.
An International Body
A proposal was made by the Badminton Association for the establishment of an international badminton federation, which would be responsible for the laws and the control of all aspects of the sport world-wide.
The Badminton Association initiated a meeting and invited representatives from all known national associations to London. It is interesting to note here that at that point of time, there was not a single national association in the whole of Asia.
This meeting was held at 10.30am on Thursday 5th July 1934 at the Conference Room, Centre Block, Bush House, London.
Establishing the IBF
The invitation was sent to representatives of nine national associations that were then active - Canada, Denmark, England, France, Netherlands, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales.
Those who attended this historic meeting were A.E. Hollings (Canada), A.C.J. van Vossen & H.M. Speaight (Denmark), Sir George Thomas, E. Hawthorn, D.L.H. Mercer, G.E. Mills & L.T Wickham (England), Rene Gathier (France), Edward den Hoed (Netherlands), J. Plunkett Dillon & J.D.M. McCallum (Ireland), E.D. Andrews (New Zealand), J.A. Gibson & Jackson Millar (Scotland) and T. W. Hughes & E. Trevor-Williams (Wales).
Representing the Badminton Association were A.D. Prebble, who also chaired the meeting, Bruce Hay and B.L. Bisgood. F.W. Hickson, secretary to BA was appointed secretary to the Badminton Association was appointed secretary to this meeting.
The invitation letter to the nine associations stated the reasons for the meeting:
“The Badminton Association believes that the time is now ripe for the formation of an International Badminton Federation and has authorized its committee to take the necessary steps for the purpose. In the event of such a Federation being formed on lines deemed satisfactory by the Committee of Badminton Association, and with sufficient support from badminton playing countries, Badminton Association is prepared:
to hand over to the Federation, the international functions (including control of the laws of the game) at present performed by the Badminton Association;
to recognize the Federation as the supreme authority of the game;
to affiliate, as the English National Organisation, to the Federation.
The invitation also stated:
“Should the proposed Constitution of the new federation be accepted, the meeting will at once resolve itself into a Council of the Federation. The Council thus formed shall have full power to act in accordance with the rules of the Federation and shall deal with the following agenda:
the election of office-bearers for the ensuing year and
the appointment of the Executive Committee for the ensuing year"
At this meeting, the Chairman A.D. Prebble proposed the following Resolution:
“That this meeting, consisting of duly authorized representatives of National Badminton Organisations, shall and hereby does form an International Badminton Federation; and that the draft rules by the Badminton Association be and hereby are adopted as the Constitution of the Federation.”
Sir George seconded the proposal. The Resolution was then put to the meeting and carried unanimously. The meeting now resolved itself into the first general meeting of the council of the INTERNATIONAL BADMINTON FEDERATION.
Inaugural IBF Meeting – 5 July 1934
The Chairman (Prebble) then announced that the Badminton Association desired, through its representatives present, to accord its full recognition and support to the IBF just formed, and to hand over to that Federation the international control of the game and its Laws.
The election of officer-bearers was then held and the following individuals were elected:
President: Sir George Thomas
Vice-Presidents: B.L. B.L. Bisgood
Treasurer: D.L.H. Mercer
Secretary: F.W. Hickson
Auditors: A.E. Goodfellow & Co
The following were elected to the Executive Council:
J. Plunkett Dillon
A.C.J. van Vossen
The first official address of the International Badminton Federation was:
74, Grange Drive,
M 21, England.
Among the major issues raised, discussed and approved at this inaugural meeting concerned national championships:
that National Open Championships must be under the direct control of the national organization (federation) of that country;
that only one such tournament may be held annually in any country
that the date of the tournament must be sanctioned by the Tournament Committee of the IBF
that the title of the tournament must be approved by the IBF
The first duty performed by Sir George as the President of the newly formed IBF - to a round of applause - was to announce that the Badminton Association had donated a sum of two hundred pounds to the world body!
The inaugural meeting of the International Badminton Federation concluded with a vote of thanks to the Chair by the incoming president Sir George and an invitation to guests to a celebratory luncheon at the Mayfair Hotel along Berkeley Street, London.
In 2006, the IBF was renamed to Badminton World Federation (BWF) and is still known by so today.