Today, the basketball world was turned upside.
With the World Health Organisation formally declaring the coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic, the world's best basketball leagues have all taken various forms of action based on their local situations to protect their players, officials and fans while limited the spread of the disease.
With March Madness descending on US College basketball, not only have the remaining conference tournaments been cancelled, but the NCAA Tournament itself. Across in Europe, the EuroLeague and EuroCup trans-continental competitions have been temporarily suspended, while the NBA has also since followed suit by suspending its season following the positive test of Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert.
The world's governing body for the sport FIBA, has since also announced that it has suspended all of its competitions in order to protect the health and safety of players, coaches, officials and fans.
In a statement issued today, the NBL advise that they are monitoring the situation closely. Like their international counterparts, they too value the health and welfare of players, staff, officials and fans. The league office has been in regular contact with the Perth Wildcats, Sydney Kings, Australian Basketball Players’ Association (ABPA) and venues ahead of this weekend’s Grand Final games in Perth and Sydney.
The Perth Wildcats this week received a scare when it was identified that a passenger on board their flight home from Sydney had been diagnosed with the disease. The Department of Health cleared the Perth Wildcats players, coaches and staff of requiring testing or isolation, as they were seated in a different area of the plane and none have displayed any flu-like symptoms.
As of Thursday afternoon (12 March), the league office confirmed with The Pick and Roll that while they continue to monitor the situation, the NBL Grand Final games will proceed this weekend.
Basketball Australia, like the NBL, are monitoring the local situation closely, especially in relation to upcoming events. Their most recent advice indicates that the Australian Under-18 Championships & Kevin Coombs Cup will continue as planned in Ballarat between 17-24 April 2020. The majority of other state-based representative and domestic basketball competitions around Australia are set to proceed as normal.
State governing bodies in Australia have been issuing their own statements in relation the the local situation in each region. They are in touch with the local health authorities, and should be referred to for up to date advice in Australia in relation to local competitions, including those such as the Big V and NBL1 Central which tip-off this weekend.
The coronaviris pandemic is real, should be treated seriously to ensure the health and wellbeing of everyone. Make sure you stay up to date on the status of the Australian situation via the Australian Government's Department of Health.