Thomas Cup Established09 April, 2016
The Thomas Cup, or the Men’s World Team Badminton Championships, is the oldest of badminton’s world championship competitions, pre-dating the individual championships by almost thirty years.
On 11 March 1939, the Executive Committee of the International Federation decided that the time was right to establish a world-wide international competition and this decision was confirmed at the Annual General Meeting of the Council of the Federation on 5 July the same year.
The following extract - Editorial Notes - Thomas Cup - from the 1948 - 1949 IBF Statutes, gives an insight into the decision by the IBF to establish a world team championships for men.
Editorial Notes - Thomas Cup - IBF Statutes - 1948 - 1949 IBF
But undoubtedly the biggest landmark in the Federation's life has been the institution of the International Badminton Championship [for the Thomas Cup].
After having been held in abeyance for about seven years, due to the intervention of the war, the competition for the International Badminton Championship will be inaugurated during 1948-49.
The creation of such an event has long been foreseen in the Badminton world, but it was not until 1939 that the standard of the game had progressed sufficiently in enough countries to warrant its inception.
On March 11th, 1939, the Executive Committee of the International Federation decided that the time had now arrived for a world-wide international competition, and this decision was confirmed at the Annual General Meeting of the Council of the Federation on July 5th of that year. At the same time the Council accepted from its President, Sir George Thomas, Bart., an offer to present a challenge trophy to be awarded to the national association whose team was successful in winning International Championship.
The work of making the trophy was put in hand at once, and at the following meeting of the Council, on July 3rd, 1940, the President formally presented it to the Federation. The Thomas Cup, as it will undoubtedly be known, is a magnificent example of the craftsman's art. It is hammered in silver, overlaid with gold, and its general beauty is hardly conveyed by the photograph on the opposite page.
It stands 28 inches in height, and has a span, including the handles, of 16 inches. It was manufactured by Messrs. Atkiti Brothers, of London, and there is ample space on the back, and on the plinth, for the engraving of the names of the championship winners.
It fell to the privilege of the late Mr. A. D. Prebble, then one of the vice-presidents of the Federation, to receive the trophy on behalf of the Council and to thank Sir George Thomas for his magnificent gift. He rightfully drew attention to the great generosity of the donor which was only one of many ways in which he demonstrated so forcibly his desire to further the interests of Badminton in every possible way. At the same time, Mr. Prebble expressed the strong hope that the Thomas Cup would be competed for, not only by every nation at present eligible, but by many more which had not yet been nationally organised for Badminton.
The regulations for the International Championship were originally drafted by a small sub-committee composed of the President and Messrs. E. Hawthorn, A. D. Prebble and H. A. E. Scheele, and then passed by the Executive Committee, and finally adopted by the Council on July 3rd, 1940. At the council meeting on July 2nd, 1947, a few revisions were made, and at the same time it was agreed that the inaugural competition should take place in a year's time.
The Championship will be for teams of from four to six men, and will be competed for once every three years. The preliminary rounds will be divided into three geographical zones, known as the American, European and Pacific Zones, with the winning nations playing off in the country of the champion nation, the latter standing out of the preliminary rounds and being challenged for the championship by the final winners. In the first year of competition, there will, of course, be no challenge round, but it has been agreed that the three zone winners shall meet in England in February and March, 1949.
Countries will be at liberty to select their own sphere of preliminary competition, and will make, within the several dates laid down for their completion, their own arrangements for the playing off of all zone ties.
The ties between each nation will be composed of five singles matches and four doubles matches, each team consisting of three singles players and two doubles pairs. The draw for the preliminary rounds will be made, with the exception of the Pacific Zone, for which entries are due by January 1st, at the tenth annual general meeting of the Federation scheduled to be held on June 30th, 1948.
As the competition will be held only every three years it may be anticipated that most of the national associations in membership with the Federation will take part, and that competition will be extremely keen. In any event, the inauguration of the International Badminton Championship is perhaps the greatest step made in the game ever since the International Federation was formed, and is certain to do much in furthering the general interest all over the world.