TheStar KUALA LUMPUR: It is confirmed. Kuala Lumpur will be the new home for the International Badminton Federation (IBF). The IBF vice-president, Roger Johansson, announced yesterday that their headquarters, which had been in England for the last three decades, would be re-located to the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium in Cheras. It is the first office of a world governing body of sports to be based in Malaysia. The move to KL is expected to bring the IBF about US$7mil in savings in the next eight years. There were more good news for Malaysia. They have been earmarked as one of the five venues for the IBFâ€™s new training centres to develop players from the five continents â€“ Oceania, Pan-America, Africa, Europe and Asia. The other centres will be operated in Germany, Bulgaria, China and the United States. In the bidding for the headquarters, Malaysia got the better vote of confidence ahead of South Korea, England and Switzerland. Three others â€“ Singapore, the United States and Canada â€“ withdrew their candidacies on Tuesday. There was some consolation for Switzerland. The IBF have decided to set up a front office in Lausanne. It is the first time that IBF will have an office close to the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Besides deciding on the re-location of their headquarters and the setting up of the training centres, the 180-member delegates from 132 affiliates also agreed to the changes in the IBF structure and a new budget system. They also opted to give the five continents a bigger role to play in their administration. The decisions were announced in a press conference attended by IBF president Korn Thapparansi, Johansson (who is also the chairman of the implementation committee), Andrew Ryan (chief executive officer) and Tong Wai Lun (chairman of finance). Earlier the IBF held their extraordinary general meeting at the Istana Hotel. Ryan said that although all the four bidders offered good packages in line with the IBF proposal for cost cutting measure, there were other reasons that helped Malaysia win the bid. â€œMalaysia are close and accessible to other major international hubs; English is also a language widely spoken here; the venue is also desirable,â€ said Ryan. It will take a gradual move for the transfer of the IBF headquarters to KL. The office in Cheltenham is expected to cease operation on Oct 1 and by then, the headquarters in KL should be ready. Thapparansi said that US$6.4mil given by the IOC for this Olympic cycle year would be channelled to their five training centres to strengthen their development programmes. â€œWe will use the Olympic funding for development. These five centres will cater for players from less developed badminton-playing countries from the five continents. The training will be provided by our certified coaches,â€ he said. â€œWe had 32 countries participating in the Athens Olympics. We have given the IOC an assurance that players from 50 countries will take part in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and we hope the training centres will help to lift the standard of players from the less developed countries.â€ The first centre to start operations will be in Saarsbrucken, Germany, in March. Details will be finalised on the other centres in Sofia, Colorado Springs, Beijing and KL. On the structure of the IBF, it was decided that the post of a deputy president would be created and five vice-presidents, each representing their continent, will be elected. 1. Pride of the nation: KL will be in the headlines when major decisions are made by the IBF. 2. Cut costs and save time: Meetings or seminars will be just in the neighbourhood (save travelling time and money). 3. Employment opportunities: Retired shuttlers or the public have a chance of joining the IBF. 4. Better know-how: The close proximity will enable the BAM to enjoy first-hand news on the game and direct transfer of technology. 5. Standard of coaching will improve: Opportunities for more local players and coaches to improve themselves. 6. More sponsors: By having the IBF here, it will lift the profile of the sport and sponsors are likely to be interested in associating themselves with the BAM. 7. Improve on Information Technology: BAM can learn from the professionally-run IBF on how to improve their website and other IT-related matters. 8. Tourism: More foreigners are expected to visit Malaysia.