Chinese national badminton team star Lin Dan has posted a public statement on social media demanding unpaid wages from his Guangdong-based club.

He and six other professionals playing for Guangzhou Yueyu Badminton Club wrote on Weibo on Tuesday that they had not received their wages for participating in the 2016-17 China Badminton Super League.

Lin Dan. Photo: Tksteven via Wikimedia Commons.

The league ran for three months from last December to this February, and comprised of eight teams each employing several male and female players.

Lin wrote that he and six other players were invited to join Guangzhou Yueyu early last year by club chairman and head coach Gao Jun, and Fu Xun – a businessman cited by Tencent Sports as responsible for operating the club.

The 33-year-old added that they helped the club avoid relegation, and took part in a number of sponsored and charitable activities that it organised.

“We seven athletes solemnly ask that Guangzhou Yueyu Badminton Club Co., Ltd., Mr Gao Jun and Mr Fu Xun pay us all the wages that they owe immediately,” he wrote. “Otherwise we will take legal action to protect our rights.”

The statement on Lin’s Weibo account attracted over 80,000 “likes” and almost 20,000 comments. Tencent reported Wednesday that it led a number of other Chinese professional badminton players to come forth with allegations of unpaid wages.

Company structure and sponsorship

However, head coach Gao told Tencent that he did not know anything about the unpaid wages, because Guangdong Yueyu had signed a four-year contract to hand over operations to one of Fu’s companies based in the city of Huizhou. Tencent was unable to contact Fu.

Lin Dan. Photo: Anthony Stanley via Wikimedia Commons.

According to records from China’s corporate regulator, Guangzhou Yueyu Badminton Club Co., Ltd.’s sole shareholder is the Guangzhou Badminton Association.

However, the club was formally registered in the national league under the name Heyuan Agricultural and Commercial Bank Guangzhou Team. Digital outlet Cover News cited coach Gao as saying that the bank was one of the club’s many sponsors – meaning that the club’s matches were held at the northern Guangdong city of Heyuan.

“This incident has nothing to do with Yueyu, we have been made scapegoats,” Gao told Cover News. “For some reason, the Heyuan side did not come up with funds.”

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.