On-court behaviors of the players and the justification of referees' decisions will be the center pieces of the 2011-2012 Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league, a shortened season being introduced with more changes.
The opener between Foshan Long Lions and Shandong Gold at Foshan will be kicked off on Saturday night, 21 days earlier than last season and the season might end one month earlier in March.
A dozen of on-court brawls in the past 12 months shocked the Chinese basketball as fans witnessed unbelievable scenes like coaches beating referees, military athletes fighting in warm-ups, and gang-fighting between under-aged players and etc..
The main task of the CBA is to make the league free from conflict, and one of the best ways to stop fights on court is to put the players under control.
New explanations of the rules for the new CBA season empower the referees to call technical foul on players who complain or shrug to their decisions. Players will be warned on the first complaint and will receive the penalty on the second.
Coaches and team members on the bench will be warned for the same reason. Referees were trying to implement the rule during the pre-season matches.
The justification of the referees' calls is the other way to clean the court as the CBA introduced a series of methods to supervise referees.
Technical officials, coaches, journalists, arena supervisors, and referee observers are invited to rate the three referees of one game for the first time.
Observers program is set up for the first time as well as each of the 17 stadiums of the league has one observer to put down his or her rating on every call of the referees.
Their rating is not the final justification of the referee calls but will be an important reference to evaluate the referees.
Teams are encouraged to send informal complaints, by means of e-mail and telephone call, of referees' calls after the match to the CBA league. They will not be charged of fee (20,000 RMB for a formal complaint) for such communication with the league officials.
Referees and technical officials answered questions of the media during a news conference for the first time in the 16-year league at the league meeting last month in Beijing. The CBA also sent referees to all the 17 sites to inform their new tasks and explain the rules to local media in the past two weeks.
On the other hand, the league also made changes to serve the media.
The press seats will not be allowed to be set up beside the court lines. Journalists must sit in the restricted area among the audience sections, and are not allowed to enter the court until the end of the game.
The league promised to prepare better services to the media and is planning to open the morning warm-up on the match day to the media.
Journalists and photographers need to call the media officials of the teams to reserve a seat in the media area even they have already applied a season credential before the season starts.
"This is only a start of our dedication to clean up the court and the referee team. We want to use two or three seasons to create an order to the court and to refine our evaluation system," said Bai Xilin, the director of the league office.
"It will be a complete different season in the 16th season of the CBA. I want you all to take the 2011-2012 season as the first year of the league," said Xin Lancheng, the Vice President of the CBA, on the league meeting on September 15.
The games will be played on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday as last season with the rest of the 17 teams kicking off their new season on September 20.