Coronavirus cancels NBA-backed African league launch – Fox Business

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Coronavirus cancels NBA-backed African league launch – Fox Business

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Concerns over the coronavirus have forced the postponement of the first season of the NBA-supported African Basketball League, which was due to start later this month.

No rescheduling plan has been announced.

In total, seven African countries – Egypt, Senegal, Nigeria, Angola, Tunisia, Morocco and Rwanda – were scheduled to host matches during the inaugural season.

So far, the COVID-19 virus has been found in four of these countries: Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal and Nigeria. The first confirmed case in Senegal was announced this week, and with the first BAL games taking place there, the league had no choice but to cancel plans to play.

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“Following the recommendation of the Senegalese government concerning the escalation of health problems linked to the coronavirus, the inaugural season of the BAL will be postponed,” said the president of the African Basketball League Amadou Gallo Fall. “I am disappointed that we are unable to kick off this historic league as planned.”

Fall’s statement only indicated that the league would be launched “at a later date”.

Fears of the virus have wreaked havoc in countless sporting events around the world, some canceled, others being played in the absence of fans. This has raised concerns that the Tokyo Olympics will not be held as planned this summer, although officials have stressed that the games have yet to continue – for now.

“We are going to have the games on July 24,” said International Olympic Committee spokesperson Mark Adams.

The news of the postponement of the African league came a day after the NBA told players to avoid fans and strangers and to take no items for autographs, the latest response from the league in its ongoing surveillance of the viral epidemic.

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The league, in a note sent to teams Sunday and obtained Monday by the Associated Press, proposed 10 recommendations to the players in the hope of reducing the risks of contracting the virus – among them, not to take articles such as pens , markers, balls and jerseys of the autograph researchers.

Worldwide, more than 92,000 people have been infected and more than 3,100 have died, the vast majority of them in China. The number of countries affected by the virus has exceeded 70 on Tuesday, and nine patients in the United States – all from Washington State – have died from the virus.

The league was to bring together qualified teams from a dozen African nations: The clubs are: Groupement Sportif des Petroliers (Algeria), Petro de Luanda (Angola), Armed Forces and Police (Cameroon), Zamalek (Egypt), Gendarmerie Nationale Basketball Club (Madagascar), AS Police (Mali), AS Sale (Morocco), Ferroviario de Maputo (Mozambique), Rivers Hoopers BC (Nigeria), Patriots BC (Rwanda), AS Douanes (Senegal) and Union Sportive Monastirienne (Tunisia).

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The plans were for the 12 teams to be split into two conferences, with each conference taking place in three cities. Each team was scheduled to play five regular season games, all in conference. The top four teams from each conference would have qualified for the knockout stages in Kigali, Rwanda.

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