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Japanese B League, VTB decide to cancel seasons

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Attempts to resume professional basketball games have fallen flat in Asian countries where the coronavirus first appeared, creating pessimism for a return to normalcy in the United States and Europe, where the race to contain the pandemic is in much earlier stages.

The Japanese B League is the latest to suffer a setback, after a league-wide meeting determined that the rest of the season will be canceled. This decision follows the cancellation of the South Korean KBL and the postponement of the Chinese CBA.

“We’ve prioritized the mental and physical health of our players, coaches and club officials,” league chairman Masaaki Okawa said in a video news conference, according to the Japan Times. “The spread of this coronavirus has been beyond our imagination and we’ve emphasized that we cannot afford to expose our players and others who are associated with our league to the danger.nfl nike jersey cheap

The league, in conjunction with the players’ association, had canvassed opinions from local and foreign players and coaches in the past week, who had widely expressed significant safety concerns around resuming the season on April 1 as planned. The league had been on hiatus from mid-February through mid-March, playing one “chaotic weekend” of games before suspending the league again.5

“Japan has not been testing to keep the numbers down and to keep the Olympics,” one American in Japan familiar with the situation told ESPN. “Now that the Olympics are off the table, Japan is willing to recognize they don’t have this under control. We’re all ready to just get back home to regroup. I have never been more ready for a season to just end. I love Japan, but this season of starting, stopping, and trying to start again has been too much mentally. They were holding on for dear life because of the Olympics and the league’s massive TV deal with SoftBank, which is a huge mobile and internet company out here.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

The VTB League, one of the biggest leagues in Europe, also elected to throw in the towel, canceling its season on Thursday. The VTB League consists of teams from Russia, Poland, Belarus, Estonia and Kazakhstan, including Euroleague teams CSKA Moscow, Khimki and St. Petersburg.

The VTB League was initially adamant about resuming play on April 10, with some of its clubs (such as CSKA and Khimki) continuing full-contact practices despite two teams being forced into quarantine after an assistant coach from Estonia had contracted the virus.

Ultimately the Russian government’s decision to halt all air travel forced the VTB’s hand, as the many foreign players under contract around the league were adamant about being allowed to return home to avoid being stuck indefinitely, a source told ESPN. The hockey equivalent of the pan-European VTB, the KHL, has also elected to cancel its season, essentially sealing the basketball competition’s fate.

The VTB is the first major league in Europe to cancel its season, joining Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Belgium, Bosnia, Cyprus, Ireland, Lithuania, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia and Ukraine. Israel and Greece have left a small window of opportunity open but have all but given up hope of playing any additional games.

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