The Chinese government issued an order on Tuesday that will delay the restart of the Chinese Basketball Association’s 2019/20 season and other group sporting events in the country, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.
The order represents the latest setback for the CBA, which has been suspended since late January and had hoped to resume in early May. Windhorst writes that China’s General Administration of Sport didn’t provide a timeline for how long the restriction will be in place, resulting in uncertainty about if or when the basketball league might be able to resume its season.
Despite the setback, CBA teams have been telling players that they still expect to resume play and that they should have more clarity within the next few weeks, sources tell ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. Emiliano Carchia of Sportando confirms that the CBA doesn’t intend to cancel its season and will have a meeting later in April to discuss the situation.
The Chinese Basketball Association had been planning to split its 20 teams into a pair of groups and send them to two separate cities to play in empty arenas, per Windhorst. The league, which had to deal with a coronavirus shutdown well before the NBA did, is viewed as a “test case” for American sports leagues, as Windhorst explains, so the fact that its resumption keeps getting delayed isn’t a positive sign.
According to Windhorst, even though the spread of COVID-19 has slowed significantly in China, sports officials are concerned about asymptomatic carriers. This figures to be an issue for the NBA and other North American sports leagues when they attempt to resume their own seasons in the coming months.