On 4 October 2017 Tom Bacher passed away. Tom Bacher served as President for Badminton Europe from 2004-2010 and professionalized the Confederation. He will be remembered for his political clout, business brain and big heart. The sport of badminton would not be what it is today without the enormous passion and contribution of Tom Bacher.
But the story of Tom Bacher goes back way beyond his time in Badminton Europe. He fell in love with badminton when he was just a kid starting to play in Østerbro Badmintonklub in Ryparken in Copenhagen.
Here he and his friends would patiently wait for a court to be free so they could have a few more hits. Among these friends also Erland Kops with whom Tom Bacher had a life-long friendship.
All England Champion
Let us however jump to when Tom Bacher turned more towards the international scene. He was a well-known, all-round player in European tournaments in the 1960s and early 1970s, winning numerous major titles, mostly in men’s and mixed doubles, thanks to his legendary energy and tactical skill.
The pinnacle of Tom’s distinguished playing career came in 1970, when, unseeded, he won the All England men’s doubles title, partnering Poul Petersen.
Tom and Poul won the second game 15-0 against the English favourites David Eddy and Bob Powell and the Danish radio commentator nearly lost his voice in all the excitement.
Tom played three times for his country in the Thomas Cup, winning the European Zone and reaching the Finals in 1967, 1970 and 1973. Trained as an international umpire as well as a coach, Tom has served the game on court at the highest level since the 1960s.
International Technical Official
Even more importantly, he has both umpired and refereed World Championships, and he was in the chair in the dramatic deciding men’s doubles match of the 1967 Thomas Cup Final in Jakarta between the holder Indonesia and challenger Malaysia when the match and tie had to be interrupted by the referee, Herbert Scheele, owing to riots in the stands when the home team was in trouble.
In 1978 Tom joined EBU for a short period, as Chairman of the Court Officials Committee but a year later he was elected to the IBF Council, serving with distinction for 24 years, having been a Vice President since 1986.
BWF Vice-President for 17 years
Tom Bacher served BWF for 24 years, from 1979-2003 with distinction, from 1986 as a Vice President. He contributed particularly to the business side of the game, as Chairman of the Open Badminton Committee, which initiated and developed the international prize money events.
The reform of the Thomas and Uber Cup in 1982, which greatly improved the attraction of this event and created the financial basis of the Federation for a decade until Olympic income arrived, was the brainchild of a small Working Group with Tom, Arthur Jones and Roger Johansson meeting in Tom’s garden over a weekend.
The establishment and growth of the World Grand Prix –since developed into the Super Series and soon to be World Tour – was another major contribution from Tom and his committee.
From 1982-2003 Tom was close to all international badminton decisions as a member of what is today known as the BWF Executive Board. Three Presidents used him as their Deputy.
A well-placed observer once said that Tom Bacher was the best president BWF never had! Luckily enough we got him as President of Badminton Europe Confederation.
Reformed Badminton Europe as President
From 2004-2010 Tom was a very active President, successfully turning the focus for our Continental Confederation towards a modern, business-like approach to the game, with focus also on modern media.
Our Badminton Europe of today is largely the result of the initiatives and the professional approach that he inspired and initiated and which was followed up by his staff and successors.
With the young and dynamic office staff we have today, where many were selected and trained by Tom, we have built a commercial platform that has served the game in Europe very well.
Moreover, he ensured that the Council was rejuvenated during his period in office. Several of the BEC leaders we have today were talent-spotted by Tom and they now follow up the work he started, with added value of their own ideas.
To his credit, Tom used all his experience in badminton and international sports politics when he and Badminton Europe, under his direction, played a major role as a strong supporter of Dr. Kang in his efforts to bring our game out of the serious troubles that personal agendas of a few individuals had brought to badminton in the first decade of this century.
For outstanding exceptional services to badminton, Tom Badminton received the BWF Herbert Scheele Award in 2008.
In 2011 Tom Bacher received the highest BWF Award when he was announced as BWF Honorary Life Vice President
For his services to the game, and in particular to Badminton Europe, Tom was nominated Badminton Europe Honorary Vice President in 2015.
It is a sad day for European badminton.
The Badminton Europe family is sending our condolences to Toms wife Jette, his children, grandchildren and his many friends and people he touched all over the world. You will be missed.
Memorial written with inspiration from Badminton Europe's 50th Anniversary Booklet
Bron: Badminton Europe/Brian Agerbak