China extends sports suspension, CBA League restart plan shelved

A Chinese man wears a protective mask, goggles and coat as he stands in a nearly empty street during the Chinese New Year holiday on January 26, 2020 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

China’s General Administration of Sport issued a statement yesterday saying sporting events that draw crowds are “not to be resumed as of yet.”

The announcement, which was run by most Chinese media, made specific reference to the country’s football and basketball associations, which have been suspended since January due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

This means that the push by the Chinese Basketball Association to resume play in mid-April has failed. The organisation wanted to have its 20 league teams play in one to two cities in empty arenas under the supervision of health professionals. All teams have 16 regular-season games left on their schedules.

China has begun lifting some of the movement controls introduced to tackle the epidemic, but sport is not yet on the agenda. The GAS said it would “make timely adjustments according to the needs of controlling the epidemic.

“For better epidemic prevention and control, no major sports events like marathons which gather crowds of people should resume.”