By Ian Ransom
LONDON (Reuters) - World badminton sought on Thursday to draw a line under the match-throwing scandal that resulted in the expulsion of eight players from the London Olympics, even as the IOC demanded a wider probe into their coaches.
The International Olympic Committee asked China, South Korea and Indonesia's national delegations to probe the entourages of the four women's doubles pairs who, in farcical scenes on Tuesday, attempted to throw their matches to secure an easier run in the knockout rounds.
"We want to see a positive result for the sport in the Olympics," IOC spokesman Mark Adams told reporters at a regular briefing. "And now we make sure they (the three national Olympic committees) also consider the entourage, to make sure it is not just the athletes who are punished for this.
"They are looking into this."
The IOC's move came a day after Badminton World Federation (BWF) chief Thomas Lund said the players' coaches had no case to answer.
Hours after Lund's media conference on Wednesday, China's head badminton coach Li Yongbo told Chinese media he was culpable for his top-seeded players Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli throwing their match on Tuesday.
Most competing teams pointed the finger at China as the instigators of the scandal.
Lund, who was celebrating his 44th birthday on Thursday, said he was unaware of Li's admission and declined to say whether the BWF would follow it up.
"I think the matter regarding the players is, they got caught and that is the end... That part of it is closed," he told a small group of reporters on Thursday by telephone.
"And I can't tell you anything else at this stage regarding the coaches."
Lund later told Sky television the fault lay with the eight expelled players.
"It's the same thing (as doping)," he said. "The players at the end are responsible and it hurts the most (for them) because now they are out of the tournament and they've lost an Olympic chance."
The IOC said the eight players were being removed from the athletes village and having their accreditation revoked.
Yu, who won Olympic gold with Du Jing in the doubles at the Beijing Games, announced her retirement from the sport on her Chinese microblog and slammed the BWF for shattering her and Wang's "dreams".
But after the Chinese delegation demanded she, Wang and China's head coach Li publicly apologize, she appeared far more contrite on Chinese state TV.
"First of all I want to apologize to our fans. We didn't play with the Olympic spirit ... So it has reflected very badly on us," she said.
South Korea's head coach declined to comment on the fallout from the scandal when asked by Reuters.
Debate has raged about the tournament's format, with many players saying the preliminary round of pool matches was ripe for manipulation.
A senior BWF official said all round-robin matches at the London Olympics would be reviewed.
"Now we've obtained all the tapes. Right now we don't have so much time, but after the tournament is finished we will look to review everything, the whole situation," BWF deputy president Paisan Rangsikitpho told Reuters at Wembley Arena.
Rangsikitpho, the tournament's technical delegate, said the result of the review would not change any results but would help the BWF decide whether to continue with the controversial group format in the first round.
"I think the majority of the matches have been well received but I think something will be changed to ensure more fairness," he said.
The probes overshadowed Day Six of the competition, where players waged furious battles as they approached the medal rounds, in stark contrast to the two tainted matches in Tuesday's evening session, where players blatantly sprayed shots wide and duffed multiple serves into the net.
The badminton tournament continues until Aug 5.
(Additional reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris)
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