TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Concerns that gambling allegations will bring down basketball in Taiwan were met head-on at a T1 League meeting Monday (Oct. 30).
Many players, including international stars, and referees are said to be involved in both gambling and match-fixing. The accusations follow several recent cases.
Wu Chi-ying (吳季穎) was found to have been game-fixing with the Yulon Luxgen Dinos. Also, former Taiwan Beer Leopards player Lo Chen-feng (羅振峰) admitted to betting on games in the semi-professional Super Basketball League (SBL), according to SETN. As a result, last week, T1 was fined NT$350,000 (US$10,800) for breaching betting rules.
T1 said Monday it would be seeking assistance from the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association and the Sports Administration, under the Ministry of Education. It added that it would also cooperate with prosecutors and sent a letter last week to seek assistance on the issue, in addition to penciling in an emergency meeting for November.
T1 League Secretary-General Wang Chih-Chun (王志群) was quoted as saying by SETN, “The league's approach is zero tolerance. Anyone involved in illegal activities will be punished. The strictest punishment will be given.”
The fear is T1’s "anti-gang, anti-gambling, and anti-violence" platform is collapsing and basketball in Taiwan will fall with it. This would be a similar situation to baseball in previous years.
After the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) was established in 1989 it underwent a series of betting scandals. This came to a head in 2008 when more than 222 individuals were investigated for gambling.
This led to wide disaffection with baseball, reduced crowds, and TV exposure. It still has not entirely removed the stain on its reputation or recovered its previous popularity as the “national game.”
T1 is the third professional basketball league in Taiwan since first being established professionally in 1994 and has six teams. On Saturday (Oct. 28) the new season’s opening game was held at Hsinchuang Baseball Stadium in New Taipei City.
Gambling is prohibited in Taiwan, except for national, state-organized lotteries.