Chinese badminton star Lin Dan threatens club with lawsuit over 4 million yuan unpaid wages

One of the country’s most popular athletes posts statement to his three million social media followers blasting team

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 May, 2017, 3:01pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 May, 2017, 11:17pm

Chinese badminton star Lin Dan, one of the country’s most popular athletes, leveraged the power of his massive social media following to demand unpaid wages of 4 million yuan (HK$4.5 million) from his China Badminton Super League club.

Lin said Guangzhou Yueyu had not paid him and six others on the team for their participation in the lucrative national tournament and took to Weibo to lambast the team in front of his three million followers.

“It is chilling that so far all the athletes have not received salaries,” read the statement.

“We athletes in order not to affect the collective honour, still insisted on completing matches despite not being paid.

“We have communicated many times with the club to pay the salaries and so far their attitude is really frustrating and disappointing. For the club to win honour while we get nothing, please do not let our sweat flow white!

“We solemnly declare that the Guangzhou Yueyu Badminton Club’s Mr Gao jun and Mr Fu Xun respect the athletes and pay the full salaries ... or we will take legal means to defend our rights and interests!”

Guangzhou’s chairman Gao Jun said even he himself was owed wages and he would rush to the city of Heyuan in Guangdong province, where the club’s main sponsors are based, to settle the arrears as soon as possible.

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Lin is one of China’s most popular athletes, though his reputation took a dent last year when he was caught with another woman while his wife was pregnant.

The pair reconciled however, and she also posted on Weibo, demanding “please respect the athletes’ pay”.

Lin’s post had garnered some 87,000 ‘likes’ and 19,000 comments on Weibo. “Resolutely safeguard the rights and interests of athletes,” said the most popular comment. “Lin Dan isn’t just protecting himself he’s also looking after his ‘younger brothers’.”

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The China Badminton Super League is a lucrative competition run by the China Badminton Association with some top-tier sponsors featuring the best Chinese players and several foreign stars. Lin’s team avoided relegation this season.

He will lead China in the Sudirman Cup in Australia starting this weekend as they try to win a seventh title in a row in the world mixed team event.