Basketball league is suspended indefinitely

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Basketball league is suspended indefinitely

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A photo of an empty basketball court at Wonju Gymnasium in Gangwon, after a Korean Basketball League game between the Wongju Dongbu Promy and the Jeonju Egis KCC was canceled on Sunday. [YONHAP]

The Korean Basketball League (KBL) has indefinitely suspended its season, starting with Sunday’s matches.

The decision was made after it was reported a guest at a hotel, where the Jeonju KCC Egis were also staying, tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday. Although none of the players were in contact with the patient or had symptoms of the virus, the KBL decided to suspend the remaining matches in the 2019-20 season.

The KBL said it will hold an emergency board meeting today to come up with a solution to finish the remaining season and the playoffs.

Last Wednesday, the KBL held its first emergency board meeting in regard to finishing the season. At that point, each team had about 10 to 12 matches remaining in the season.

Due to the fast spread of the virus, it decided to follow the lead of the Women’s Korean Basketball League and the Korean Volleyball League (KOVO) and play those remaining games but without any fans.

But the measure wasn’t enough to quell fears, and KBL foreign players started to announce they would return home. Since the KBL’s announcement, three foreign players - Allen Durham and Byron Mullens of the Busan KT Sonicboom and Goyang Orions’ Boris Savovic - headed back to their countries.

The KOVO, which was the first to play its matches in empty arenas, is also planning on having an emergency board meeting today. It was expected to finish the regular season by March 18 which would be followed by the postseason from March 20 to April 5.

However, due to continuing concerns about the virus, it is uncertain whether it is going to continue and finish the season, which could put the players, coaching staff and the referees at risk of infection with the highly contagious disease.

While the basketball and volleyball leagues struggle to figure out how to complete their seasons, the K League and the KBO are currently struggling to figure out when to start theirs. The K League announced on Feb. 24 that it will postpone the start of its 2020 K League 1 season, and shortly after on Feb. 27, the KBO also announced that it will cancel all exhibition games, the first time in the KBO’s history to do so. No decisions regarding the postponement of the start of the season have been made yet.

BY PARK SO-YOUNG, KANG YOO-RIM [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]

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