Sir Craig C Reedie CBE

Sir Craig C Reedie CBE
Scotland
Born: 06 May, 1941

Sir Craig Reedie became the 12th President of the International Badminton Federation and the second Scot to fill the role when he took office in 1981 in a three-year term.

He may not have been international standard as a player but he was world class as an administrator and his success with first Scotland and then the IBF was just the start of an amazing rise to the top of the sporting tree within the International Olympic Committee.

Even in his 70s there appears to be no let-up as he took up office as President of the World Anti-Doping Agency WADA in January, 2014.

IBF Career

1970-77 Council member
1977-81 Vice President
1981-84 President
1985- Honorary Life Vice President

Scottish Badminton Union Career

1964 Joined Union Council and went on to serve as honorary secretary and treasurer
1975-77 Vice President
1977-79 President

Craig Reedie’s rise to prominence in world badminton wasn’t quite a case of following in father’s footsteps but it was surely the next best thing as David Bloomer, who was IBF President from 1965-69, was his boss and mentor.

Reedie took the same route to the top as Bloomer, climbing the badminton ladder with the Scottish Badminton Union (now BADMINTONscotland) before becoming the driving force in the transformation of the world governing body into the professional organisation it is today.

His law degree was to stand him in good stead in the roles he was to fulfil in the many years ahead but it was Bloomer who diverted him into the world of finance when the young Reedie joined the insurance brokerage where he was to rise to senior partner.

He fulfilled all the key roles within the SBU before becoming President at the age of 36. His biggest achievement with the SBU was in finding a disused paint factory in Glasgow in 1979 and managing the project to transform it into the community badminton facility which opened in 1980 and still serves the city today.

Indeed, in 2014 the Cockburn Centre, which also houses the offices of the SBU, was renamed the Sir Craig Reedie Badminton Scotland Badminton Centre in his honour following a £150,000 facelift which will ensure that Glasgow citizens can enjoy the facility for many more years to come.

But it appears there was nothing that Craig Reedie couldn’t turn his hand to. He continued what Bloomer had started by masterminding World Invitation Tournaments from 1960 until1976 (the year before the first World Championships was staged).

He also helped organise the badminton at the 1970 Commonwealth Games and the 1973 European Junior Championships, both in Edinburgh, and refereed the European Juniors in Malta in 1977.

Within two years of ending his term of office as SBU President and after being Vice President of the European Badminton Union (now Badminton Europe) from 1974-80, he was to become in 1981 at the age of 40, the youngest IBF President and this marked the start of a younger outlook within the Federation generally.

Ronnie Rowan, former IBF General Secretary, recalls: “Until well into the 1970s the role of President had been as a figurehead of the Federation. Stuart Wyatt had been the last of these. He was followed by Stellan Mohlin and Craig Reedie, two visionary leaders.”

Both Mohlin and Reedie were to play vital roles in first solving the protracted political problem over China and Taiwan and, secondly, the badminton battle to gain Olympic acceptance, which was confirmed at the 1985 IOC meeting in East Berlin after both had worked hard to improve the sport’s image and status.

It might have been achieved four years earlier but for the China-Taiwan affair, which Reedie played a key role in bringing it to an end. He went to Hong Kong for special discussions with Chinese officials and after those talks, their entry into the IBF was ratified at an early annual meeting in Tokyo in 1981, following which Reedie became President.

Then came the Olympic issue and the breakthrough was achieved in 1983 when Reedie was given an audience with IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch. “I persuaded him to come to the World Championships later that year in Copenhagen,” said Reedie “and he wrote the dates in his diary.

“He came to Copenhagen and saw a great men’s singles final attended by the Queen of Denmark. The final was between Indonesia’s Liem Swie King and Icuk Sugiarto and after seeing that, Samaranch agreed “we must have this sport in the Olympic Games.”

As a result badminton was included as an exhibition sport at the 1988 Seoul Games and gained full inclusion at Barcelona in 1992 with four events. By 1996 in Atlanta (when current BWF President Poul Erik Hoyer won men’s singles gold) mixed doubles was added to complete the five disciplines.

But Reedie’s business acumen was crucial in other areas. He championed the cause of the licensed player (enabling them to keep their prizemoney), which brought to an end the amateur era, and was pivotal in establishing in1983 a Grand Prix circuit, which was to be the forerunner of today’s highly-successful BWF World Superseries. The Open era of badminton had certainly arrived.

Reedie was the driving force behind more frequent World Individual Championships (they are now staged three years out of every four where originally they were once every three years) and the streamlining and synchronising of the Thomas and Uber Cup team competitions, the latter especially focusing on an increase in the number of women’s teams participating.

The Sudirman Cup world mixed team championships was also introduced as the sport rapidly become more alluring to sponsors and television, where Reedie extended his many talents to include TV commentating.

A new world ranking system was also introduced to determine event qualification, initially for Olympic Games inclusion, and to generate more media interest.

Former England manager Ciro Ciniglio said: “Craig opened up badminton. He introduced licensed, registered players and changed the nature of the game as we knew it. He also got IMG involved in the promotion of badminton for the first time as the sport entered the commercial world.”

But it wasn’t just about developing tournaments. Rowan points out: “One of the most important committees was founded. The Development Committee had a small, slow beginning but played an important part in spreading the knowledge of the game around the world.

“Badminton’s inclusion in the Olympics also meant the sport could benefit from monies for development from the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity Fund, which gave money to sports for development purposes.” This helped IBF to develop the sport in Africa and South and Central America.

Rowan sums up Reedie’s IBF influence as follows: “All in all, Craig was the right, knowledgeable person in the position of President of the Federation at exactly the right time, when probably the biggest surge in progress throughout the world took place and its number of members was increased the quickest.”

His efforts brought recognition. Reedie is among a select few to have received both the Herbert Scheele Trophy and to be entered into the BWF Hall of Fame.

But his career didn’t end with badminton. Among other things, he went on to be a key figure at UK Sport, became chairman of the British Olympic Committee (1993-2005) and since 1994 has been a member of the IOC, where he is now a Vice President. 

He played a key role in securing the 2012 Olympic Games for London and in January, 2014 began a three-year term as President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

He was appointed CBE in 1999 and knighted by The Queen in 2013. He holds honorary doctorates from his alma mater, the University of Glasgow (2001), and the University of St Andrews (2005).

Sources:

Former BWF General Secretary Ronnie Rowan

International Badminton – The first 75 years

Scottish Badminton Union – Celebrating 100 Years 1911-2011 by Leon Douglas

 -- By William Kings

A 1994 picture of sir craig giving a speech - pic by peter richardson C reedie at 1982 all england - pic by preben soborg Close up shot of reedie in 1994 - pic by peter richardson Craig reedie - a dynamic olympic visionary - pic by louis ross Reedie (2nd from r) with takakura (jpn), h scheele  and f sonneville - bg november 1966 Reedie during the draw of the 1983 world championships - pic by preben soborg Sir craig at the 1985 agm - pic by louis ross Solo shot of craig reedie - world badminton dec 1994 Solo shot of reedie in 1985 - pic by louis ross