Former Houston Rockets star Yao Ming has recently resigned as chairman of the board of the Chinese Basketball Association Management Company, which runs the business arm of the CBA. Yao had been leading efforts to commercialize the top-tier 20-team Chinese Basketball Association Management Co. since his appointment in 2017. However, the board of directors determined that it was time for new leadership. The CBA’s website thanked Yao for his service without providing any indication of the reason behind his departure.
Corruption Allegations in CBA
Allegations of corruption have plagued the CBA in recent years. In the past month, two teams, the Jiangsu Dragons and Shanghai Sharks, were disqualified from the league finals after engaging in unsporting conduct that resulted in a come-from-behind win by the Sharks. The outcome was deemed suspicious, leading to an investigation and punishments for both teams. The managers and coaching staff from each team have been banned from the league for up to five years. China’s basketball and football leagues have been attracting foreign talent and commercial endorsements, but they are heavily influenced by the government and have uncertain ownership lineups. Some officials have been investigated for taking bribes and other forms of corruption.
Xu Jicheng Takes Over as Chairman
Yao Ming’s replacement is veteran sports journalist Xu Jicheng, who has previously served on committees bidding for and overseeing the 2008 Beijing Olympics and last year’s Winter Games. Yao remains the president of the Chinese Basketball Association, which is the national governing body for basketball in China. Despite a yearlong ban on NBA games being shown in China after a team executive supported Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, basketball remains hugely popular in China, largely due to Yao’s storied NBA career.
Yao Ming’s resignation as chairman of the board of the Chinese Basketball Association Management Company comes amid allegations of corruption in the CBA. Xu Jicheng will take over as chairman, while Yao will continue to serve as the president of the Chinese Basketball Association. Despite recent controversies, basketball remains popular in China, and it is expected that the CBA will continue to thrive with new leadership.
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