Guildford Heat has begun a search for new owners after being put up for sale, MVP has learnt, with the price thought to be just £1.

The club’s current backer, Alan McClafferty, met with players and staff on Thursday to break the news but has warned the Heat could fold without fresh investment.

Creon: Games wil go ahead

With a reported £30,000 shortfall in their budgets, it is understood that head coach Creon Raftopoulos was asked to make initial savings a fortnight ago but more drastic measures are now expected.

Club sources pinpointed reductions in the amount of government funding available for community programmes as the central cause of the crisis.

“Over the past two years the club has been undergoing a rigorous process of cost reduction and elimination of waste with the simple objective of making it sustainable,” McClafferty said.

“While this was happening we have invested in the club and we have had to take some very difficult decisions. Although I can now say the cost of running the club is the lowest it’s ever been, whilst still fielding a very competitive team, I cannot say the club has yet become sustainable.

“Due to a shortfall in funding, we will be forced to close unless a new major sponsor or investor is found urgently. We have enjoyed great success on the court so far this season, and we are seeking a headline sponsor or investor in order to secure the future of the club.”

On the court, Guildford have enjoyed a positive start in contrast to their fortunes off it.

“We will definitely be fulfilling our games this weekend plus ones against Glasgow and Plymouth which are coming up over the holiday period,” Raftopoulos confirmed ahead of the meeting.

“Then we have sponsors lined for our TV game against Essex next month so hopefully that’s going to help.”

Guildford’s game against Newcastle, scheduled for Saturday, has been postponed on safety grounds.

The Heat was previously rescued from administration by McClafferty – a local businessman who had been involved with the club at junior level – less than two years ago after an ill-fated excursion into European competition placed an intolerable financial burden on their former  regime.

“The franchise was taken on a European adventure that seriously hurt the club,” said BBL chairman Paul Blake.

“Alan came in to turn things around and make it fit for purpose. But he now feels that he’s taken it as far as he can.”

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