The Chinese Basketball Association halted play back in January when the Coronavirus was first starting to get out of hand, but informed players that basketball competition could be returning sometime in April.
ESPN has the details:
“Approximately 40 Americans — including former NBA players Jeremy Lin, Lance Stephenson, Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson — are under contract with the 20 teams that make up the Chinese Basketball Association. Most foreign players were sent home over the Lunar New Year holiday in late January, with instructions to prepare to return in mid- to late February.
As positive signs have emerged in China in recent weeks regarding containment of the virus, CBA team officials are discussing several formats for how to resume play, sources told ESPN, including hosting all 20 teams in one or two cities and playing a truncated regular season and playoff schedule, without fans.”
ESPN later reported that several players are refusing to go back to China due to the fears surrounding the Coronavirus situation in the country that currently have more than 80,000 total cases and over 3,000 deaths.
In a league memo to clubs, the CBA said the coronavirus epidemic is “basically stable” and under control in cities where teams are located:
“In January 2020, the new coronavirus broke out in many places across the country. According to the requirements of national epidemic prevention and control, we postponed the subsequent games of the 2019-2020 CBA season scheduled to be held on February 1. At present, the situation of epidemic prevention and control in CBA cities is basically stable. In order to better respond to the national requirements on precise prevention and control, solid and orderly promotion of return to work and production, shoulder the mission and task of sports confidence, warm people’s hearts and gather people’s hearts, according to the relevant requirements of China Basketball Association on the restart of the league, the rest of the games of the 2019-2020 CBA season will restart from the beginning of April.
“All clubs and teams are requested to prepare for the restart of CBA League as early as April 2.”
Now it seems the CBA is threatening American players with lifetime bans if they refuse to come back and report to their teams.
That would be a huge financial hit to a lot of players whose careers fell off the map in the NBA or they never actually made it to the league and the CBA is the primary source of income.
The U.S. State Department issued a Level-4 travel ban into China on Feb. 2 as a result of the coronavirus.
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