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Yao Ming outlines plan to restart Chinese basketball season

Yao Ming, president of the Chinese Basketball Association, has put forward three options to resume the league’s season, which has been on hold since February 1 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Yao, formerly a star of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, the CBA is assessing a trio of scenarios that include: playing a full season schedule; playing a shortened season; or ending the regular season now and move directly to the playoffs based on teams’ current standings.

Speaking with state broadcaster CCTV, Yao said he hopes as much of the season as possible is played, but “public health and fairness are the key considerations”.

In order to get back on court, teams will be isolated in hotels and games will be played behind closed doors.

In designing the restart plan, Yao noted the CBA had received advice from Zhong Nanshan, who heads a national virus control team. “The improving situation regarding virus control and prevention as well as the presence of Zhong’s team have boosted our confidence for the restart,” Yao added.

Queried on a date for the restart, Yao said he could not be specific as that decision required the approval of the government sports administrative organisation, the General Administration of Sport of China.