Chinese basketball to resume on June 20 after coronavirus

Above, the Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai which hosts Chinese Basketball Association games. (AFP file photo)
Short Url
Updated 04 June 2020

Chinese basketball to resume on June 20 after coronavirus

  • China’s first major sports league to return to action after the coronavirus

SHANGHAI: The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) season will resume on June 20, the CBA said on Thursday, becoming the country’s first major sports league to return to action after the coronavirus.
The campaign was halted in February but will return after the number of infections dropped markedly in China, where the pandemic emerged at the end of last year.
The resumption of the CBA puts pressure on football — the other leading sport in China — to similarly get going again after a months-long indefinite postponement.
“With the approval of the sports and health department, CBA league will resume on June 20 and all preparations have entered a substantive stage,” the CBA said on the Twitter-like Weibo.
Defending champions Guangdong ranked first in the league after 30 matches, before the CBA announced in late January that the competition would be suspended from February 1.
Earlier this week, former NBA star Jeremy Lin, now with the Beijing Ducks, said players and fans wanted basketball back as soon as possible.
“We don’t care whether the games are played in empty arenas or under a championship-like competition system,” Lin said.
“We just want to play and let fans see the games on TV or the Internet.”


Red card for virus as Saudi Pro League returns with Riyadh derby

Photo/Supplied
Updated 03 August 2020

Red card for virus as Saudi Pro League returns with Riyadh derby

  • Season restarts after 144-day absence with safety measures, spectator bans

JEDDAH: The most popular rivalry in the Saudi Pro League (SPL) will take center stage as Al-Nassr host Al-Hilal on Wednesday, with safety precautions to allow the safe return of football in the Kingdom.

The eagerness for football’s return will be highlighted when players arrive fully kitted at King Fahd Stadium, ready to take to the pitch for the Riyadh derby on Wednesday night.
The kit rule is one of a string of new measures put in place during every league game to ensure the safe return of the country’s most popular sport, as players and coaches prepare for the SPL after a 144-day absence with a full round of fixtures starting on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Fans are unable to attend games due to social distancing rules, while other regulations have been put in place behind the scenes ahead of the season resuming on Tuesday night.
Players would usually arrive at stadiums on team buses, but these will now be reduced to smaller convoys with staggered team arrivals. Players will turn up in their kit ready to take straight to the pitch to warm up ahead of the game in order to avoid large numbers in changing rooms.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Players to arrive ‘match ready’ in warm-up kits.

• Limited number of players allowed in changing rooms at one time.

• Stadiums continuously disinfected.

About 30 precautions are being implemented across match days aside from spectator bans, with all clubs and players agreeing to rules set out by the SPL and Ministry of Sport.
Arrival points at stadiums will be spread out for teams and staff, while a maximum of five players will be allowed in changing rooms at one time.
While a lot of work has gone into the safety preparations behind the scenes, players will also avoid shaking hands or hugging on the pitch. Dugouts will be restricted to nine coaching staff and substitutes, with others seated in the stands while wearing masks.
On match days, stadiums will be disinfected, including changing rooms, corridors, advertising and even corner flags, with the league ensuring safety standards are maintained during the remaining eight rounds of fixtures.
Fans will not be allowed in stadiums but can still get behind their team and show their support through the SPL’s #OurLeagueIsBack digital campaign, which encourages supporters to share messages and join the conversation online.
Take part on Twitter at @SPL, Instagram at SaudiProLeague, Facebook at SaudiProLeague.SPL and by using the hashtag #OurLeagueIsBack.