China's Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli during their controversial match against the South Korean pair (AP)
The four women's doubles pairs at the centre of a match-fixing scandal at the London 2012 badminton tournament have been disqualified.
The top seeds from China, two pairs from South Korea and another from Indonesia deliberately conceded points in an apparent attempt to lose their matches and manipulate the quarter-final draw.
All eight players had been charged by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) with "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 four pairs had been due to play their last-eight matches in Wednesday evening's session at Wembley Arena but it is thought the schedule will now be reconstituted. One possibility would be to allow the pairs who finished third and fourth in the groups behind the banished players to take their places in draw.
The fiasco began when top seeds Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang seemingly tried to engineer defeat against Korea's Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na to avoid finishing top of their group. That would have kept them in the opposite side of the draw to compatriots Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei.
The Koreans responded by apparently trying to lose themselves, before a second pair from their country, Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung, took the retaliation further by failing to play properly against Indonesia's Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii. In turn, the Indonesians then became involved.
The players were booed off court by an irate crowd during the evening session and the BWF launched an investigation. Several hours later, they announced charges had been made and a disciplinary hearing would take place.
It is understood the players were being informed of the decision before it was officially announced.
London 2012 chairman Lord Coe has voiced his sadness at the situation. When asked his feelings, he said: "Depressing. Who wants to sit through something like that?
"The sadness of it is I was actually at the badminton yesterday and I saw a British competitor narrowly fail to progress but the games were incredibly competitive in front of really large enthusiastic audiences - unacceptable. I know the (BWF) really well and they will take that really seriously. It is unacceptable."