Taiwanese sports are to return next weekend, with the baseball and soccer leagues starting their new seasons, although there are to be restrictions for spectators and protective measures due to COVID-19.
The Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) season was originally scheduled to begin on March 14, then pushed back to March 28, before settling on next Saturday.
“To conform with the government’s mandate limiting crowds at outdoor events, we will strictly limit the total number of people at each league game at fewer than 200,” CPBL secretary-general Feng Sheng-hsien (馮勝賢) said. “This figure will include the players, coaches, team employees, ballpark workers, league officials and members of the media.”
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
Bans are also in place on fans gathering outside ballparks and seeking players’ autographs, while reporters must adhere to “social distancing” regulations during post-game interviews and other restrictive measures, he said.
Baseball fans are being urged to watch the games on TV or use online streaming, Feng said.
“These restrictions are needed to deal with the coronavirus situation. After consultations with government officials and health authorities, we have implemented measures to protect the players, referees and other personnel,” he said.
The Rakuten Monkeys are to host the Brothers Baseball Club at the Taoyuan International Stadium next Saturday in a traditional matchup of the championship finalists from last season.
All four teams are in action the following day, with the Monkeys taking on the Fubon Guardians in Taoyuan and the Uni-President Lions visiting the Brothers Baseball Club in Taichung, all behind closed doors, Feng said.
The nation’s top soccer leagues also begin next weekend, with three matches in the women’s Taiwan Mulan Football League at Taipei Municipal Stadium next Saturday.
The men’s Taiwan Football Premier League season begins with four matches the following day.
Similar to the baseball, there is to be a ban on spectators at all the matches to protect the players and officials.
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