The inaugural Basketball Africa League (BAL) season has been indefinitely postponed due to the increasing spread of coronavirus, NBA announced on Tuesday.
BAL which is operated as a partnership with FIBA was slated to begin on March 13 in Dakar, Senegal.
BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall announced that the decision was made in adherence to advice from the Senegalese government.
“Following the recommendation of the Senegalese government regarding the escalating health concerns related to the coronavirus, the BAL’s inaugural season will be postponed,” BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall said in a statement.
“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 statement read.
The 12-team league was first announced at the NBA All-Star 2020 Africa luncheon in Chicago and features teams from all over the continent. It is NBA’s first collaborative league outside of North America.
Champions from national leagues in six countries—Angola, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia—were guaranteed a place in the inaugural BAL season, per a Feb. 15 release. The remaining six teams, which come from Algeria, Cameroon, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique and Rwanda, secured spots in the league through BAL qualifying tournaments conducted by FIBA Africa across the continent in late 2019.