The Badminton World Federation (BWF) expressed their disappointment with the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI) after withdrawing a large contingent of their players from the upcoming World Championships in Huelva, Spain.

The decision was made by the Indonesian side due to COVID-19 concerns.

“BWF is disappointed with the decision by PBSI and regret that the withdrawal took place after the draw. The PBSI made the announcement on Wednesday morning expressing concerns linked to the COVID-19 situation,” the world body said in a statement.

PBSI, through its development and performance division head Rionny Mainaky said the decision was made after discussing with the shuttlers.

“There is also an appeal from the government of Indonesia, in the midst of the pandemic that has not subsided, to reduce travel activities abroad,” Mainaky said.

It means top men’s doubles seeds Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo-Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and defending champions Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan would not be present for the tournament.

In the men’s singles, Anthony Ginting and Jonatan Christie would also miss out, along with Tokyo Olympics women’s doubles gold medalists Greysia Polli-Apriyani Rahayu.

However, a small number of Indonesian players is set to remain in the draw.

Besides that, reigning world champion Kento Momota also pulled out with a back injury.

On the Malaysian front, there has not been any withdrawals apart from mixed doubles pair Goh Liu Ying-Chan Peng Soon, who decided to split after 13 years together.

The BWF, meanwhile, added in their statement there were no plans to conduct any redraws, and they would be working with the Spanish Badminton Federation to deliver a safe and successful World Championships.

A majority of players also arrived safely and entered the tournament bubble.