China Restricting Resumption of Team Sports amid COVID-19, Delays Restart of CBA

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2020

BEIJING, CHINA - DECEMBER 25: Jeremy Lin #7 of Beijing Ducks in action during 2019/2020 CBA League - Beijing Ducks v Xinjiang Yilite at Beijing Wukesong Sport Arena on December 25, 2019 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)
Fred Lee/Getty Images

The Chinese government issued an order Tuesday restricting the resumption of the Chinese Basketball Association season as well as other group sporting events.

According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, the decision was made by the General Administration of Sport due partially to concerns regarding asymptomatic carriers of coronavirus.

The CBA season originally shut down in January.

Sources told ESPN's Jonathan Givony that they still plan to resume the season at some point and hope to have more clarity on when that could happen "in a few weeks."

Per Windhorst, the CBA had planned to split the 20-team league in half with 10 of the teams playing each other in one city without fans and the other 10 teams playing each other in a different city without fans.

The CBA had also planned to house teams in quarantined hotels and give players multiple temperature checks per day. While that strategy can be effective in some cases, it wouldn't be able to identify those who are asymptomatic.

There had been so much confidence the CBA would be able to resume its season that several American players returned to China over the past two weeks to prepare. Former NBA players such as Jeremy Lin, Lance Stephenson and Ty Lawson were placed in a 14-day quarantine upon arriving.

COVID-19 was first identified in China, but there are now more than 803,000 confirmed cases worldwide contributing to over 39,000 deaths, according to CNN. China has the fourth-most confirmed cases at over 81,000 and the third-most deaths at 3,305.

Like the CBA, the NBA suspended its season earlier this month after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus.

Several other NBA players have tested positive since then, including Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood and injured Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant.

Windhorst noted that the resumption of the CBA season would have been something NBA officials monitored closely in an effort to craft a plan for the resumption of the NBA season as well.