Chinese basketball: Yao Ming offers options for restart

A tournament to restart the season is also being considered if not all scheduled games could be played.

Representative image: Yao Ming says the Chinese league might play out the full schedule   -  Getty Images

Yao Ming, the former Houston Rockets star and now president of the Chinese Basketball Association, says the league has three options for resuming the season that has been on hold since February 1 over the coronavirus pandemic.

Yao said the league might play out the full schedule; play a shortened season with some games dropped; or end the regular season and go straight to the playoffs based on teams’ current rankings.

Yao told state broadcaster CCTV on Sunday that he hopes as much as the season can be played as possible, but that public health and fairness were the key considerations. A tournament to restart the season was also being considered if not all scheduled games could be played.

Read: Komalika Bari: Gifted with natural strength

Teams would also be isolated in hotels and fans barred from stadiums, he said.

In formulating a restart plan, the CBA received advice from a unique source, Yao said. Zhong Nanshan, who heads a national virus control team and is married to a former national player, provided “many useful suggestions,” Yao said. “With their help, we are more confident of the CBA’s return.”

As in most countries, professional sports in China has been largely put on hold during the pandemic. The national football association said last week it would be mandating a temporary 30 to 50 per cent pay cut for all players and hoped to restart competition on a staggered schedule.

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos