Guangdong basketball player suspended for violating league’s COVID-19 containment measure

Society & Culture

In this week's China Sports Column: The CBA has suspended Guangdong Southern Tigers guard Zhao Rui three games for violating the league's anti-virus rule. Also, the Chinese Super League may start at the end of July, and construction has begun on an Asian Games baseball complex in Hangzhou.

Zhao Rui Guangdong suspension violate anti-virus measure

The CBA resumed play two weekends ago, with games being played in Qingdao, Shandong Province and Dongguan, Guangdong Province.

On the court, the story of the season has been the dominance of the Guangdong Southern Tigers, the defending champs, who have now won 18 in a row and are 34-2 on the season, a full seven games up in the loss column over the league’s next-best team.

Led by Chinese national team captain Yì Jiànlián 易建联, the Southern Tigers have had a cakewalk of a season. Their last 10 games have been double-digit victories; on Sunday, Yi scored 31 points in the first half as Guangdong beat the Fujian Sturgeons 143-126.

But it’s a recent off-the-court story involving Guangdong that has made headlines. Southern Tigers guard Zhào Ruì 赵睿 received a three-game suspension on Saturday for violating a CBA-enforced COVID-19 containment rule. According to Xinhua:

To safeguard all participants’ safety, the league has dispatched credentials of different colors to different groups. Players, coaches and referees are offered green credentials, while yellow and blue credentials are provided to reporters and staff in the arena respectively. People in the green area cannot conduct any close contact with those having credentials in other colors.

CBA revealed that Zhao, who possesses a green credential, had close contact with people with yellow credentials in the hotel on Friday, resulting in his three-match ban and a fine of 10,000 yuan (around 1,400 U.S. dollars).

This was the first such violation of the rule since the league restarted on June 20.

One wonders what the NBA, preparing its own restart in Orlando, thinks of all this. By all accounts, the NBA’s anti-COVID-19 measures are not as strict as the CBA’s; as for how they’ll even be enforced, we’ll see.

CBA standings 6 30 20

As the CBA tries to finish all its games before the playoffs begin on July 30 — with the top 12 teams getting bids (the top four get byes into the quarterfinals) — another team making a surge are the Beijing Royal Fighters, coached by Stephon Marbury, winners of four in a row.

The Royal Fighters’ last game ended in dramatic fashion, with Kyle Fogg knocking down a three-pointer in the waning moments of overtime to beat Jilin 123-121:

The Royal Fighters are currently tied for third place, but there are seven teams — from third place to ninth — within two games of one another.

One of those teams is Beijing’s other squad, the Ducks, who eked by Zhejiang 92-90 today. Led by Jeremy Lin and Ekpe Udoh, the Ducks are now 4-2 after the season’s restart, with one of those wins coming against the league’s second-place team, the Xinjiang Flying Tigers:

For basketball fans outside of China missing their fix of live basketball, you can watch all the games on Youku.com, either online or via its app.

~

State media: CSL to return next month

Wuhan Zall CSL
Wuhan Zall returning to China from Spain (AP)

The Chinese Super League is finally set to begin its delayed season at the end of July. After months of waiting, the season may actually start.

The league was due to start on February 22 but postponed the 2020 season as coronavirus rocked China. The league had come under pressure during this month, as their peers in basketball restarted.

Now it seems that Chinese soccer fans will have their game back, almost a month after the CBA and nearly two months after professional soccer restarted in Europe.

While the league has yet to announce an official date, contacts within the CSL have told state media to expect the league that they expect to return around July 25.

Meanwhile, during this past month, many of the CSL’s foreign players and coaches have returned to China.

Many international stars in the league were caught outside China when the country shut its borders to non-Chinese citizens. However, the country has since relaxed the rules slightly to allow these high-paid stars to jet into China on chartered flights after agreements with local authorities in Shanghai and other cities.

Beijing Guoan head coach Bruno Genesio and Congolese striker Cedrick Bakambu are both undergoing a mandatory 14-day quarantine in Shanghai after the pair landed in the city on Friday.

Like Beijing, Dalian worked with local authorities in the city to secure the return of ex-Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez.

Following the example of the CBA, the CSL is planning to play the season in two host cities, Dalian and Suzhou. Guangzhou had been rumored as a potential host city, but fortunately, the CSL decided to spare the players the southern Chinese summer.

~

Asian Games Baseball Center starts construction in Zhejiang

Asian Games Baseball Center construction Shaoxing Zhejiang

Shaoxing, a satellite host city for the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, started construction on a series of international baseball and softball fields.

The site will include two baseball fields and two softball fields.

The 2022 Asian Games is a multi-sport Olympiad event that takes place every four years. Like the Olympic Games, nations compete against each other in a number of different disciplines. While traditional Olympic events, such as athletics and swimming, take center stage, the Asian Games have a unique flavor to them.

Cricket, wushu, chess, and even the esport League of Legends feature at the games.

Baseball has struggled to gain a serious foothold in China, unlike Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, which remain the baseball hotbeds of Asia.

The China Baseball League was the country’s first professional baseball league. Founded in 2002, the league ran until 2018, when it folded after bankruptcy. A new professional league with support from Major League Baseball, the China National Baseball League, was founded last year.


The China Sports Column runs every week on SupChina.