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July 30, 1997 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - The International Badminton Federation will be testing four changes to the way top badminton matches are played at the upcoming World Cup tournament scheduled for Jakarta from August 20 to 24. The experiment with the rule changes was revealed by Datuk Punch Gunalan of Malaysia who heads the federation's Open (competitions) committee.

The rule changes include a 90-second break after the eighth point and after the game point is scored in the first game, and also after the eighth point is scored in the third game, if the decider is played. (In women's singles, the 90-second timeout will take place after the sixth point is scored in all games plus another 90-second break after game point in the first game).

The present rule allowing a five-minute break between the second and third games will be continued. Under current rules, play in a match is continuous, except for this five-minute timeout.

Coaching will be permitted during the 90-second breaks as well as the long timeout between the second and third games. As of now, coaching is only allowed during the 5-minute interval.

One coach for each player or pair will be allowed to sit at courtside during the match. Under current rules, coaches have to sit away from the playing area usually among the spectators. Situating the coaches at courtside will allow the players to easily obtain advice during the shorter breaks.

Coaching during a match though will continue to be illegal, except during the 90-second and five-minute breaks.

The last rule experiment involves the setting, badminton's equivalent of tiebreak or overtime. During the World Cup, setting will only be at 14-all with the game going to the first player or pair to score three points (In women's singles, setting will be at 10-all with the game going to the player to score two points).

The badminton federation is continuing to experiment with timeouts in order to accomodate television commercials. The coaching-related changes as well as the timeouts are intended to improve the quality of play, although badminton purists say that the timeouts will benefit the less-fit among the players.

The experimental change to the setting is in response to comments by newer badminton fans who get confused with the current rules where setting may be at 13-all for 5 points or 14-all for 3 points (9-all for 3 points and 10-all for 2 points, in women's singles).

According to Datuk Gunalan, these rule changes will also be tried at all tournaments in the Asian Badminton Federation satellite circuit.

A more radical change to badminton tournaments where matches are played on a best of five nine-point games - the so-called 5 by 9 - will continue to be tried in Europe, particularly in Norway.