1977-1986 Council member
1987-1989 Vice President
1990-93 President and Chairman of Council
1997 Honorary Life Vice President
1999 Assistant Honorary Archivist
2000 Awarded Herbert Scheele Trophy for Outstanding Exceptional Service
Badminton Association of England Career
1973-86 Vice President
1975-84 Chairman of Council
1996-2000 Honorary Life Vice President
1993 Awarded Herbert Scheele Medal for Outstanding Meritorious Service
Arthur Jones was one of badminton’s great administrators. His attention to detail and his reputation for fair play meant he earned respect throughout the badminton world.
But little did he know that when he and a group of friends formed the Trinity Badminton Club in Essex after the Second World War, it would be the start of an involvement in the sport which was to last the rest of his life and see badminton become a full-blown Olympic sport during his term of office.
Despite a passion for philately, golf and swimming (he swam two and half miles a week), badminton was his first love – apart from wife Bess, who still married him despite him managing to “break an old hickory-shafted racket over her head” at a club in Newcastle when he was sent there on a radar course in 1941.
Arthur’s hopes of becoming a county player were never quite realised given that Essex had a reputation for producing strong players. When Arthur became President of the Badminton Association of England (now BADMINTON England) world mixed and women’s doubles champion Nora Perry lived barely a mile away, and Essex could boast other England stars like Ray Stevens, his cousin Darren Hall and the unpredictable but talented Kevin Jolly.
But if Arthur Jones didn’t make it as a player, he certainly did as a referee (he refereed World Championships and Thomas & Uber Cup Finals) and an administrator.
He was Essex county secretary by 1956, had joined the BA of E Council a year later and was elected chairman in 1975, remaining in that position until 1984. In those early days of his career he and younger brother Stanley were considered a touch rebellious (Stanley was later to become for many years BA of E legal adviser).
From 1973-86 Arthur was a vice-president of his association then from 1986-90 he was BA of E President. But he had already attracted wider attention, having become a member of the IBF Council in 1977.
Yet he hesitated at the thought of taking on the IBF Presidency. “I had to stand down as President of the BA of E,” he said at the time. “That wasn’t a decision I took lightly.”
But he made the right decision, accepting the role but hoping that he would be allowed three years rather than the two that several predecessors had served to meet the targets that he intended to set himself. Yet those who knew him well were convinced he was well-suited to the task, especially as, another former BA of E President and fellow Essex man John Havers pointed out “he never forgot a name.”
Nora Perry MBE, now a BWF Council member, said at the time: “It’s good to have him as President because of his hard-working nature and now he’s retired from business (he and his other brother, Peter, ran the family dressmaking business), he has even more time to put into badminton and has a lot of experience to put back into the game. He has a hell of a lot of experience, particularly in handling problem issues.”
He may seem the most unassuming and humble of men – thinking nothing of travelling by coach from London Victoria to the IBF offices in Cheltenham – but former England manager Ciro Ciniglio confirmed what many others knew. “I’ve always had the greatest of respect for him. He’s a tough character but always fair. Nevertheless, you always knew he was a man who meant business, especially as he has tremendous badminton knowledge. He’s a man who will always stick by the rules. He earned the role on merit as he was a strong committee man who had worked his way up.”
So what were his targets? He wanted the sport to develop globally, particularly in Africa and South America and he would have been happy with the progress that has been made to date.
He was keen at the start of his Presidency that badminton would make the most of its Olympic status as 1992 in Barcelona marked a great opportunity for the sport and the revenue generated subsequently could only benefit the development of the game. He said at the time: “We have accrued reasonable amounts of money as a Federation and we can do things we have never done before. We can now act as a real association.”
And as a proud Englishman he was content in the knowledge that the last year of his Presidency coincided with the World Championships coming to England for the first time.
He was certainly happy that the Presidency was a role that changed regularly to avoid stagnation.
There were other issues he wanted to address. Jones wanted to see the World Grand Prix and computerised world rankings capture the imagination. You can only wonder how thrilled he would be about the success of the World Superseries circuit.
He felt strongly about drug education among players and wanted to raise awareness.”We are now an Olympic sport and we must keep badminton a clean sport...I believe that all positive tests that have happened in badminton have been a result of ignorance or stupidity. The word is education.
“I want to see a steady programme of testing. But they key is education. It’s so important. Drug testing is here to stay so you might as well get it right.”
His badminton career brought deserved recognition. At the 1993 All England Championships he was presented with the Herbert Scheele Medal, awarded by the BA of E for outstanding meritorious service, and was made an Honorary Vice President of the BA of E in 1996.
The same year he was awarded the CBE for services to badminton and in 1997 became a BWF Honorary Life Vice President. In 2000, the year of his death, he was awarded the Herbert Scheele Trophy by the IBF.
Badminton England Museum
Badminton Now magazine
Author’s own interviews with Arthur Jones
-- By William Kings