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China basketball teams thrown out after match-fixing claims

Two teams were disqualified from the ongoing Chinese Basketball Association season on Monday after suspicions of match-fixing, with Yao Ming bemoaning a “sorrowful weekend”. 

The Shanghai Sharks overtook the Jiangsu Dragons in the last two minutes of a CBA playoff game on Friday after the Dragons lost possession of the ball multiple times.

The Sharks — where CBA president and NBA all-star Yao began his professional career — won the game 108-104, advancing to the quarter-finals.

The match sparked fury among basketball fans on Chinese social media and allegations of match-fixing. The CBA said on Saturday that it would investigate the game.

The CBA did not use the phrase “match-fixing” on Monday and instead accused them of “passive playing” during two recent games involving the teams, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

In addition to being disqualified from this season, both teams had their budgets slashed by five million yuan ($730,000).

Their head coaches and general managers have been slapped with suspensions of three to five years, CCTV said.

“Both clubs have a long history… and both teams have produced milestone figures,” Yao said in video footage published by the state-run China News Service.

“The more we talk about it, the more pain we feel,” said the 42-year-old, who starred for the Houston Rockets in the NBA between 2002 and 2011.

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