CBA CEO: safety is top priority after league resumes

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Wang Dawei, chief executive officer of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league, said health and safety of everybody involved in the league will come first when the league resumes.

“Safety is our top priority,” Wang told a video conference with media on Tuesday.

The CBA season is set to restart on June 20 after nearly a five-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to Wang, each team will play seven or eight matches in the first stage after the resumption. After three days of transportation and rest, teams will take part in the second phase of the regular season.

The playoffs are scheduled to start on July 30. Round of 12 matches and the quarterfinals will decide the winners through just a single game, while the best-of-three format will be adopted for the semifinals and final.

Wang admitted that CBA has “huge responsibilities” as the first professional league to resume in China.

“Our plan for COVID-19 prevention and control has undergone revision for quite a long time. The core is to keep a two-meter distance between different groups to ensure everyone’s safety,” he commented.

The two Beijing-based teams, the Ducks and the Royal Fighters, have arrived in Qingdao and Dongguan, the two competition sites for the remainder of the CBA season, respectively. Other teams are expected to arrive in the next two days.

The league will adopt closed-off management to minimize close contact between different groups.

Wang revealed that players, coaches and referees are offered green credentials. Yellow and blue credentials are provided to reporters and staff in the arena, respectively.

People with different credentials are restrained to specific areas in the arena. When doing interviews or attending press conferences, reporters have to keep a two-meter distance from players and coaches.

Despite strict epidemic prevention and control measures, players can enjoy some leisure activities during their stay in hotels such as strolling and playing video games.

Huang Jing, famed for his inspiring speeches in the locker room during Team China’s Olympic women’s basketball qualifiers, has been invited to offer some guidance concerning mental adjustment, and players can also watch videos about the similar topic.

CBA matches will be played behind closed doors after the resumption, thus calling for more expediencies to interact with fans.

CBA has launched an activity of soliciting fans to cheer for their home teams. Fans’ voice will be played during the game time, and encouraging words will be displayed through court-side advertisements.

As for overseas players, Wang said that 12 teams have chosen to play with an all-domestic roster after the league restarts, meaning that the remaining eight have to limit the time of dispatching overseas players on court against these sides.

Wang said it’s possible that “surprises” may happen due to the competition’s format, especially in the playoffs.

“Every sport can witness surprises. It’s also a test for our domestic players,” he noted. 

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