(Reuters) - The first season of the NBA’s Basketball Africa League, which was scheduled to tip off Friday in Dakar, Senegal, has been postponed due to concerns about the coronavirus, the league announced on Tuesday.
“Following the recommendation of the Senegalese government regarding the escalating health concerns related to the coronavirus, the BAL’s inaugural season will be postponed,” league president Amadou Gallo Fall said.
“I am disappointed we are not able to tip off this historic league as scheduled but look forward to the highly-anticipated launch of the BAL at a later date.”
The BAL, a partnership between the International Basketball Federation and the NBA, features 12 club teams from across Africa and is a key part of the NBA’s effort to expand the North American brand worldwide.
There are almost 91,000 cases of coronavirus globally of which more than 80,000 are in China. China’s death toll was over 2,900, with more than 160 fatalities elsewhere. [nL4N2AW2GJ]
Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Shri Navaratnam