CNA: Taiwan’s top women’s basketball team withdraws from season

Taiwan’s top women’s basketball team withdraws from season

Taipei, Feb. 9 (CNA) The Cathay Life women’s basketball team, which has won 17 straight women’s titles in Taiwan’s domestic league, announced Tuesday that it will pull out of the 2010 season over a…

Taipei, Feb. 9 (CNA) The Cathay Life women’s basketball team, which has won 17 straight women’s titles in Taiwan’s domestic league, announced Tuesday that it will pull out of the 2010 season over a player registration controversy.

The team decided to miss the 2010 season of the Women’s Super Basketball League (WSBL) over what it claims is a violation by the Chunghwa Telecom team in signing Chiang Feng-chun, a former Cathay Life star forward who came out of retirement and signed with Chunghwa Telecom, it said in a press release.

The WSBL consists of five teams and is Taiwan’s top women’s basketball league. The 2010 season is scheduled to begin in March.

Chiang, a national team regular, returned to basketball one year after a surprising retirement in February 2009 at the age of 28. Her unexpected return sparked controversy and highlighted an "unwritten rule" that Taiwanese women players stay with a single team throughout their careers or face being boycotted by the other teams if they try to switch teams.

The teams invest millions of dollars in every player and it is unfair for teams to lose players to other teams, according to Cathay Life assistant coach Chien Wei-chuan.

The Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (CTBA) , Taiwan’s highest basketball governing body, changed the rule in 2008 when lawyers said it violated the Constitution, which rules that people’s right to work should be protected.

All players — men and women — are now free agents and free to sign with any team after their contracts expire or they receive letters of clearance.

However, Cathay Life still opposed the transfer of Chiang, who retired after a falling out with the team’s head coach, Hung Ling-yao.

Chiang was quoted by the media as saying she decided to leave Cathay Life because Hung kept rejecting her wish to play U.S. college basketball or elsewhere overseas.

The case was submitted to the CTBA Disciplinary Committee for further review.

Cathay Life, which established its women’s basketball team in 1969, has been one of the most successful basketball teams in Taiwan. More than half of the Taiwan national team players are from Cathay Life.

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