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CBA kicks off new season and battle against scandal

12-15-2010 10:56 BJT

By Sportswriters Shan Lei, Fang Lie

HANGZHOU, East China, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese Basketball Association league (CBA) kicked Friday off its 2010-2011 season here amid a nation-wide battle against scandal in the field of sports.

Entering its 15th season, the CBA is widely recognized as the best professional sports league in China, and the sport of basketball is becoming the most popular sport in the nation after the men's and women's national teams reigned the championships at the Guangzhou Asian Games last month.

On the other end, the sport of soccer has stepped down the podium as the first sport of China as its top officials and referees are facing scandal trials in a few months.

The downfall of soccer was so overwhelming that the whole field of sports is experiencing an earthquake of dignity crisis. Basketball, the one that is on the way to take the place of soccer, is undoubtedly questioned for its purity.

Will basketball be the next soccer in 10 years? That is a question for most fans who love basketball and care about the future of China sports.

Chinese soccer was the on the center of the stage around the Millenium after the men's national team earned the first-ever berth of the World Cup finals in 2001, and the women's counterpart won the runners-up at the 1999 Women's World Cup.

The soccer domestic league was the most successful league in China during that span and soccer stars like Fan Zhiyi, Hao Haidong, Sun Wen etc. were household names.

It is all like the basketball nowadays in China as the sport is so welcomed by the youth and super stars like Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian are idols of the fans.

The reform of basketball inherited from soccer and the process of development of basketball is encountering the same problems as soccer after it reached the climax in 2002.

"We never denied the possibility of scandals in basketball. The Chinese basketball is facing one of the most difficult period in its development. The basketball could have been the soccer if we have not done something to prevent. We know the danger and we don't fear it," said Li Jinsheng, Vice President of the Chinese Basketball Association.

All the top officials, including Xiao Tian, Deputy Director of the State General Administration of Sports, showed up in Friday's opener between the Zhejiang Guangsha and Fujian SBS at Hangzhou.

"The referees had two tests before the season and dozens of them had been deprived of the right to run the CBA or WCBA leagues. We want to clear the team of referees. We want to do something before something happens," said Bai Xilin, Director of the league office.

All the travels of the referees were handled by the CBA this season. The referees are not allowed to contact with or be contacted by the clubs during the season.

The basketball referees were fully informed with the examples of the soccer referees like Lu Jun, Zhou Weixin and Huang Junjie, who might be sued next month.

The universities and research centers the basketball referees work at have been called up to co-orperate with the CBA to battle against the possible dirty whistles.

"I think the referees are now fully aware of our determination against scandals on or off the court. I hope to see some changes in the new season," Bai said.

"There is always danger of falling down if you don't do anything in front. The example of soccer ring the bell to all the other sports. I think we'll do better," Li said.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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