Four pairs of women's doubles badminton players, including the Chinese top seeds, have been ejected from the Olympic tournament for trying to throw matches in an effort to secure a more favourable quarter-final draw.
The Badminton World Federation, the sport's governing body, read a brief statement to a packed throng of media at the Wembley Arena venue for the sport, saying the players had been disqualified for breaching two parts of the players' code: "Not using one's best efforts to win a match and conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport."
The decision comes after the BWF charged the players, one pair from China, two from South Korea and one from Indonesia, in the wake of farcical scenes in the final group stages of the tournament on Tuesday.
The South Korea and Indonesian teams appealed against the disqualification, but the former appeal has been rejected while the later has since been withdrawn.
Their places in the last eight will be taken by the pairs who finished third and fourth in the qualifying groups concerned.
Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli, the Chinese top seeds, and their South Korean rivals, Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na, were booed by spectators as they repeatedly hit shots wide or served into the net.
The referee, Thorsten Berg, warned the players over their conduct.
The Korean pair won the match 21-14, 21-11, ensuring that Yu and Wang would avoid playing their No 2-seeded Chinese team-mates until the final.
The longest rally in the first game was four strokes, and at one point the match referee came on to the court to warn the players.
There were similar scenes in a later group match between Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung, another South Korean pair, and the Indonesians Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii.
Berg threatened the players with disqualification because of their behaviour.
The Koreans eventually won by two sets to one.
The Chinese top seeds, the two pairs from South Korea and the one from Indonesia deliberately played to lose in an attempt to manipulate the quarter-final draw at Wembley Arena last night, it has been claimed.
Gail Emms, the former British badminton star who won silver in the mixed doubles at the 2004 Games, called the lack of trying "disgraceful".
She told BBC Radio 5 Live: "You cannot do this in an Olympic Games, this is something that is not acceptable and it just makes not only our sport but the organisers and the poor crowd who had to watch, who pay good money to watch two matches … It was just disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful." Locog chairman Lord Coe said the actions were "depressing".
Yu, from the Chinese pairing, defended her performance after the match, saying she wanted to ease up ahead of the knockout phase.
"Actually, these opponents really were strong.
This is the first time we have played them, and tomorrow it's the knockout rounds.
So we've already qualified, and we wanted to have more energy for the knockout rounds."
It is the first time the Olympic badminton tournament has included a group stage, set up in an effort to give more matches and exposure to players from lesser badminton nations.
In the past every round was knockout.
A member of staff at the BWF, asking not to be named, said the issue of players trying to lose matches to improve their draw in the quarter finals had been raised at the pre-tournament meeting of national team managers, but dismissed.
The Chinese badminton team, he added, were known to closely follow instructions from coaches on how to best massage a draw.
"Lots of people knew this would happen," he said.
"In a way, it's probably best for the sport.
I imagine the IOC [International Olympic Committee] ordered tough action, as I can't imagine the BWF doing this alone."
South Korea's head coach, Sung Han-kook, blamed the Chinese for Tuesday's events.
"If they played right, the Chinese team, this wouldn't happen," he said.
"So we did the same."
Petya Nedelcheva, the Bulgarian women's singles 15th seed, who was playing on an adjacent court at the time of the first incident, was forthright in her general criticism of
"China control everything," she said.
"I don't know who controlled the match to lose, but if it is China again – they did it so many times last year, they didn't play against each other in 20 matches.
They do what they want."
The online magazine Badzine published figures in December last year showing that of the 99 all-Chinese matches played in major tournaments in 2011, 20 were walkovers or ended in a retirement.