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P. LEAGUE+ & T1 LEAGUE/Ex-P.LEAGUE+ CEO returns as vice president following league restructuring

11/07/2023 08:44 PM
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P.LEAGUE+ Chairman Richard Chang (left) and Vice President Charles Chen take a picture at an unidentified Costco store in Taiwan. Photo courtesy of P.LEAGUE+ Nov. 7, 2023
P.LEAGUE+ Chairman Richard Chang (left) and Vice President Charles Chen take a picture at an unidentified Costco store in Taiwan. Photo courtesy of P.LEAGUE+ Nov. 7, 2023

Taipei, Nov. 7 (CNA) Former P.LEAGUE+ (PLG) CEO Charles "Blackie" Chen (陳建州) rejoined the league as its vice president on Tuesday, one day after the league announced it was restructuring itself from a company into an association.

The PLG announced Chen's unexpected return only after issuing a statement that the league will be "optimized" into an association and inviting former national player Richard Chang (張嗣漢) to be its chairman on Monday.

Chang, 58, is currently senior vice president in Asia at Costco Wholesale Inc. His success in business management is what led the league to invite him to take the helm, according to the statement.

"As a former basketball player and as a business executive of 30-plus years, I hope to bring my background and experience to enhance and differentiate the P.LEAGUE+ from other Taiwan sports platforms," Chang said.

Many had interpreted Chang's appointment to the league as marking the end of the Chen era, after the latter resigned all his posts at the PLG in the wake of being accused of sexual harassment over many years by several female celebrities in late June.

For example, the United Daily News reported on Monday that Chen had apparently relinquished the 25 percent of PLG shares he held.

On Oct. 5, Thomas Lee (李忠恕), president of the Pauian Archiland Group who owns the PLG's Taoyuan Pauian Pilots, was elected the new chairman of the board and CEO by the league's board of directors, with Chen resigning as the league's chairman of the board, CEO and president.

President of the Pauian Archiland Group Thomas Lee, who owns the Taoyuan Pauian Pilots. Photo courtesy of Taoyuan Pauian Pilots
President of the Pauian Archiland Group Thomas Lee, who owns the Taoyuan Pauian Pilots. Photo courtesy of Taoyuan Pauian Pilots

As a result, the PLG's announcement on Tuesday that Chen is to return as vice president was completely unexpected and confusing, commentator Chen Kai (陳楷) told CNA.

"It makes sense that Richard Chang's image as a successful basketball player-turned-entrepreneur can effectively help to repair the harm Blackie did to the league, but his return has weakened that effect," Chen Kai said in a phone interview.

Chen Kai also suggested the restructuring may have less to do with optimizing the league's operations than the rumored upcoming merger of PLG and T1 LEAGUE, the other professional basketball league in Taiwan.

The formal change supposedly prevents the league's operation from being controlled by any one individual, but on the other hand, PLG has still not clarified the responsibilities of Chang as chairman, particularly as he has said he joined the league "as a volunteer," Chen Kai explained.

"It is hard to tell how the newly formed PLG will operate because so much remains unknown," he added.

Rather, it is clear that by establishing the league as an association, the PLG has reached a formal balance with the T1 LEAGUE, which has always operated as an association, Chen said.

He added that the restructuring occurred only a few days after the PLG announced its new restrictions on the maximum number of imported players per quarter, which are now in line with those in the T1 LEAGUE.

In the previous three seasons, each PLG team was permitted to play two imports at the same time in the first three quarters and only one in the last quarter "to let local players learn to carry the team," but the league stated on Nov. 4 that from the upcoming 2023-24 season each team will be able to play two imports in every quarter "to increase the game's quality and highlights"

The picture will become clearer when more information is made public, Chen Kai said.

(By Chao Yen-hsiang)

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