Badminton-Re-scheduled Thomas and Uber Cup to take place in Oct. 2021

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FILE PHOTO: Thomas Lund, secretary general of the Badminton World Federation, speaks at a news conference during the London 2012 Olympic Games

(Reuters) - The 2020 Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in Denmark, which were postponed this year after the withdrawal of several teams amid the COVID-19 pandemic, will take place in October next year, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) said on Monday.

The biennial championship was originally scheduled for May but was first postponed to August due to the COVID-19 crisis before being moved to Oct. 3-11 when the Danish government extended its ban on large gatherings.

It was moved again after South Korea, Indonesia, Australia, Taiwan and Thailand pulled out.

"It has been decided that the Championships will be hosted in Aarhus, Denmark in the last part of 2021 in Week 41, as part of a tournament cluster in Denmark with the Denmark Open in Week 42," the BWF said in a statement.

The 2021 season will kick off with the Asian leg of the BWF World Tour, which was postponed from November this year to January 2021.

Back-to-back events will be held in Thailand starting Jan. 12, with the World Tour Finals due to take place from Jan. 27-31.

The China Masters, Thailand Masters and Thailand Open have been cancelled, while Super 300 events in New Zealand, Australia and Korea have been postponed.

The BWF also said the qualification period for the Tokyo Olympics will begin with the Swiss Open in March and run until the India Open in May. Qualification for the Tokyo Games will be determined from the Race to Tokyo Rankings on May 18, 2021.

"These deadlines have been set due to the uncertain nature of COVID-19 and the extra time needed to conduct tournaments with the COVID-19 safety protocols required," BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund said.

The BWF also approved a support package to ensure tournaments can continue to be part of the calendar in 2021. This includes testing, safety measures and reduction of the sanction fee payable to BWF by 50% for all Grade 2 tournaments.

Super 1000 tournaments will have the option of reducing prize money from $1.1 million to $850,000, while Super 750 events can lower it $600,000 from $750,000.

Super 300 and Super 500 tournaments will not have qualifying rounds to ensure enough time is allocated to conduct COVID-19 tests on players and officials.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)