Falklands fury: Argentina demands sports team plays under shock ‘Islas Malvinas’ title
Falkland Islands Badminton accused Argentina of putting pressure on them to play under the name “Islas Malvinas” or pull out of the Badminton Pan Am Male & Female Cup 2020. But the team insisted they “do not give in to bullies” ahead of the start of the competition in Brazil on Thursday.
Falkland Islands Badminton claimed organisers of the international tournament were sent a series of letters from Argentine officials.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, they said: “Falkland Islands Badminton are currently dealing with a situation in Brazil.
“We have a team in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil ready to compete in the Badminton Pan Am Male & Female Cup commencing on Thursday.
“Unfortunately Argentina are putting on a SIGNIFICANT amount of pressure for our Falkland Islands team to either pull out of the tournament or play under ‘Islas Malvinas’.
“Our Chairman Doug Clark is with the Team and has met with the Badminton Pan Am President and the tournament organisers.
“He has informed them that we do not give in to bullies and that we will obviously NOT be withdrawing and we will NOT play as M**vinas.
“Argentina are putting pressure on Brazil to pull the entire tournament if we do not give in to their demands.”
Argentina uses the Spanish name for the British overseas territory, which it claims sovereignty over.
In an update on Wednesday, Falkland Islands Badminton said: “The team are currently at the draw for the tournament.
“They are being entered into the draw and tournament as normal.
“We sincerely hope that we are able to just play some badminton & enjoy the tournament! That really shouldn’t be too much of a big ask…”
And in their latest update, they said the team’s coach and assistant coach met with the chief operating officer and president of the tournament and “repeated our resolve to not back down to these bullies”.
They added: “The team are very much looking forward to playing and are focusing their energy on that.
“We have however been warned that there is still the possibility that the team will be ordered to stop playing & be removed from the tournament when a number of VIPs visit the venue.”
Roxanne King-Clark, secretary of Falkland Islands Badminton, told The Telegraph they would not back down.
She said: “My husband (the club chairman) and I are very hardline when it comes to anything to do with the Argentines - his dad was a Royal Marine who was posted here and my parents were here during the war.
“We are really, really passionate about the Falklands and we won’t give in.”
In a statement, Badminton World Federation (BWF) told Sky News: “BWF is aware of several communications from government authorities in Argentina and Brazil in relation to the participation of the Falkland Islands women’s badminton team in the Pan Am Team Continental Championships 2020 due to take place in Salvador Bahia starting tomorrow.
“This tournament is a qualifying event for the TOTAL BWF Thomas & Uber Cups 2020 and is a BWF and Badminton Pan America Confederation (BPAC) sanctioned competition.
“As a result, BWF Member Associations within the Pan Am confederation have the right under the BWF Statutes to enter on the grounds that ‘a player shall not have his or her entry refused for reasons of gender, sexual orientation, race, religion or politics’.
“BWF can confirm the Falkland Island team has entered in a valid manner, and as such is eligible to participate in the tournament.”
Sources from the Argentine foreign ministry denied the Falklands team was being asked to change its name.
“We will then just have to wait and see if the Government insist that we are pulled out of the tournament or whether they cancel the entire tournament.