Shanghai, Jiangsu fined and kicked out of CBA playoffs
The Chinese Basketball Association has fined Shanghai Sharks and Jiangsu Dragons each 5 million yuan (US$775,049) and suspended both teams for the remainder of the season for playing "in a negative way" last week during games two and three of their play-off series, it announced on Monday.
Li Chunjiang, coach of the Shanghai Sharks, received a five-year ban, while his counterpart on the Jiangsu Dragons, Li Nan, will face a three-year ban, the association's Discipline and Ethics Committee said.
The heavy penalties were imposed after the committee found both teams didn't give their best efforts to win the games held on April 11 and 14 in the CBA playoffs.
"We are deeply saddened by the incident. In sports competitions, reputation is more important than ability," said Yao Ming, president of CBA, adding that it is necessary to change some things through this event to make the sacrifices they have made meaningful, reported China News Service on Monday.
The punishments also include restrictions of five years on Jiangsu Dragon's General Manager Shi Linjie and three years on Shanghai Shark's Jiang Yusheng from engaging in basketball-related activities.
Game 3 of the CBA playoffs first round between the two sides on April 14 ended in a dramatic manner. Leading 100-96 with 1 minute and 36 seconds left, Jiangsu conceded consecutive turnovers in a span of 1 minute, which led to Shanghai's 10-0 surge. Shanghai eventually won 108-104 to advance to the quarterfinals by winning the series 2-1.
Surprised by the dramatic finish of the game, many fans deemed it an outcome that had been fixed, with "match-fixing" trending on China's social media right after the game.
After the punishment, Shenzhen Aviators, which originally would vie for a semifinal spot with Shanghai, will automatically advance to the semifinals.
Shanghai Sharks issued a statement later in the afternoon accepting the punishment and expressing "deep regret for the negative impact caused by the incident on the long-time fans of the sport, and society as a whole."
The club said it is conducting an internal investigation into the incident to "address any issues that arose and to ensure that the mistake will not be repeated."