China’s National Sports Bureau has banned events that will draw large crowds until further notice to curb a second-wave of Covid-19 infections being brought in from overseas.
The suspension means that competitions such as basketball’s CBA and football’s Super League (CSL) will have to put off hope of a mid-April return to action.
The CBA has been suspended since January 24, while the start of the 2020 CSL season, scheduled for February 22, was postponed.
A statement from the National Sports Bureau said: “In order to fulfil our duty to stop the virus being imported at the border and prevent the rebound in domestic infections, and to reduce unnecessary people flow and its consequent threat to virus prevention, from now until further notice major sporting events which gather crowds, such as marathons, will not resume.
“In the meantime, please continue to direct the public to maintain a healthy lifestyle and organise online sporting activities. The National Sports Bureau will update according to the developing virus situation.”
The Associated Press news agency said the CBA is considering a proposal to bring all 20 teams to one or two cities, potentially Dongguan or Qingdao, to play games behind closed doors. Teams currently have 16 regular-season games left to play.
Several events have been cancelled or postponed in China since the outbreak of Covid-19 began in January, including the World Indoor Athletic Championships.
The event, which was due to be held in Nanjing in March, has been postponed until next year.