The China Sports Column is a SupChina weekly feature.
While the National Basketball Association and commissioner Adam Silver are considering an assortment of plans to resume its season — making multiple contingencies — China’s top domestic league is also considering options on how best to finish its season.
Chinese Basketball Association chairman Yáo Míng 姚明 told CCTV in an interview on Friday that he hopes the CBA will resume at the start of July. The date is a much later one than some of the dates originally proposed, which must come as a disappointment to those watching from the NBA’s league office, considering China has contained COVID-19 to a much better degree than the U.S.
The former NBA icon told Chinese state television that while “public health and fairness” are his top priorities, he and the league have considered three options for resuming play. “The first is to play the whole season, the second is to cut some games, the third is to end the regular season and start the playoffs with the league rankings right now,” Yao said.
“We are considering a season play-in tournament while isolating teams and players in closed stadiums and hotels. We will notify the teams 21 days before the league restarts once we make the final decision.”
The league has been suspended since the Chinese New Year break in February. Most teams have played 30 of their 46 scheduled games.
Yao hinted in his interview with CCTV that the home-and-away format could be abandoned in favor of moving the remaining games to two or three cities and playing out the season under isolated conditions.
The potential to move the league to a few geographically close cities has been contemplated from the very start, after the CBA realized that the league would be suspended for months.
Guangzhou, Dongguan, and Shenzhen, which all have CBA teams, could become hosting sites, while Beijing/Tianjin and Shanghai/Suzhou/Nanjing have also been in the discussion to host all the remaining games.
CFA urges clubs to temporarily cut players salaries by 50%
The Chinese Super League was the first soccer league in the world to suspend the season due to COVID-19, but the Chinese Football Association (CFA), China’s soccer governing body, has only now begun a campaign to safeguard the already–shaky financial health of the league’s clubs.
The CFA announced recommendations on Friday that clubs cut the salaries of staff (playing and non-playing) by between 30 and 50 percent.
“The COVID-19 epidemic has had a big impact on the soccer industry. All levels of leagues were forced to postpone the 2020 season, which influenced the normal operation of clubs,” read the CFA announcement. “With low income and high labor costs, the clubs are facing growing financial pressure.”
While the CFA made it clear these were not compulsory measures, they did recommend that the clubs cut the salaries of their players from the March 1 suspension to a week before whenever the league restarts.
“I hope the players could view the salary cut in a positive way,” CFA president Chen Xuyuan told CCTV in an interview on Thursday before the official announcement.
“The salary cut will benefit the long-term development of both the clubs and the players. We should not only consider the right now. We need to see the future.
“The foreign players are included in the salary cut plan. We have many communications with FIFA. It’s not fair if we treat foreign and domestic players differently.”
As well as the potential for a pay cut, the CFA also gave clubs the green light to delay payment of these wages until the season starts, although the CFA did make it clear that clubs could only delay up to 30 percent of the total staff salaries.
China claims top spot FIDE Chess.com Online Nations Cup
China managed to secure the top ranking in the International Chess Federation (FIDE) Nations Cup after tying with the U.S. in the Superfinal of the tournament.
The tournament brought together the best players in the world — minus world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen — to compete in a live-streamed international team chess competition.
The six teams included China, Europe, the U.S., Russia, India, and the rest of the world.
The format included a round-robin stage followed by a Superfinal between the two top-ranked teams.
At the end of the round-robin, China was ranked at the top with eight wins plus a single draw and one loss. The team from Europe, coached by Garry Kasparov, lost to the American side, which faced off against China in the finals.
China, who lost its first matchup with the U.S. in the round-robin stage, knew that a draw would be enough to secure the title due to a superior record during the round robin.
It came down to the final match between Hou Yifan and Irina Krush. Hou did enough to stop Krush from getting the win, thus securing China the title.
Chess may not be as exciting as basketball or soccer, but it is all we have at the moment:
The China Sports Column runs every week on SupChina.