GUANGZHOU -- Guangdong Fenglu Aluminum Basketball Club, last season's winner of the National Basketball League (NBL), will sue the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) for not being promoted to the premier league, a spokesman for the club said on Tuesday.
"We have to take legal action to be granted our place in the top national league," Xiao Qinglong, executive deputy general manager said.
The lawsuit will be submitted to a Beijing court in the next few days, he said.
It will be the first time the CBA has been taken to court by a team.
"We won the secondary division last season, but we have been denied promotion because of a vote conducted by the CBA to decide which club gets to join the premier league," Xiao said.
The CBA had earlier announced that it would expand the existing 16-team national premier league to 17 teams, by selecting a club from the secondary division.
According to the entry regulations for the top league, drawn up by CBA in April, the new premier league team was to be chosen from among the teams that filled the top three positions in the NBL over the past two seasons.
"The regulation mentioned nothing about voting for entry to the premier league," Xiao said.
"The CBA has broken its own rules."
On Sept 4, a 16-member committee voted to invite Tianjin Ronggang Club to join the premier league.
"We can not accept that decision," Xiao told China Daily.
"By filing the lawsuit, we hope the government will have to carry out a full investigation.
The CBA, however, has said the voting process was in accordance with the regulations it announced.
"Winning the NBL last season did not mean automatic qualification for the CBA," CBA league director Zhang Xiao was quoted as saying by the Oriental Outlook Weekly.
"According to our rules, Tianjin was also a contender."
The Guangdong Fenglu Aluminum Basketball Club, which is based in Sanshui, Guangdong, was set up three years ago.
"We have invested more than 20 million yuan ($2.9 million) to become the best team in the NBL. But our long-term plans have been dented by our failure to gain entry to the top league," Xiao said.