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China basketball clubs disqualified for match-fixing

Chinese Basketball Association Chinese Basketball Association -

Two clubs have been kicked out of China’s basketball league amid suspicions of match-fixing.

The ruling came after the Chinese Basketball Association judged the Jiangsu Dragons and Shanghai Sharks engaged in unsportsmanlike conduct during a playoff series last week.

They were suspended from this year’s regular season, fined the equivalent of $5 million, and their managers and coaching staff barred from the league for up to five years.

Fan and media attention was drawn to a last-minute, come-from-behind win by Shanghai following a series of turnovers in the last of their three games to reach the quarterfinals.

In Friday’s Game 3 of the first round of the playoffs, the Jiangsu Dragons led the Shanghai Sharks 100-96 with 1 minute, 36 seconds left to play.

The Dragons committed five straight turnovers over the next minute, giving the Sharks a 10-point lead. The game ended in a 108-104 win for Shanghai and a 2-1 victory in the series, sending the Sharks into the quarters.

The CBA, headed by NBA great Yao Ming, announced on Saturday it was investigating both teams' conduct during their series.

Shanghai's two American former NBA players, point guard Eric Bledsoe and forward Michael Beasley, went on social media to distance themselves from the scandal.

“I was suspended and couldn't play,” Bledsoe posted on Twitter.

Beasley wrote on Instagram: "Ï want to make it clear that I had no involvement in the recent allegations of game-fixing within the Shanghai Sharks organization.”

Beasley was signed by Shanghai last year but never got to play because of injury, and said he's left the team by mutual consent.

The CBA investigation highlighted continuing suspicions about widespread corruption in Chinese professional sports, especially in football.

Basketball remains enormously popular in China, mostly because of Yao’s storied NBA career. That’s despite a year-long ban on NBA games being shown in the country after a team executive angered Beijing with remarks supporting Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.


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