WORTHING THUNDER CONFIRM BBL EXIT

Worthing Thunder have confirmed they will drop out of the British Basketball League into the lower-tier EBL next season.

After ongoing discussions over their BBL future, as first revealed by MVP in March, the three-year stint in the top flight for the south coast side has been brought to a close just days after the campaign concluded with Worthing sitting second from bottom in the standings.

Financial problems have been pinpointed as the ultimate cause for the switch. After spending much of last summer in ultimately doomed negotiations with American investors, chairman Frank Gainsbury admitted that Worthing have not been able to attract sufficient income to sustain a full-time set-up.

"We are extremely grateful for the level of support and encouragement we have had from the BBL during our time in the league and particularly during our difficulties this season,” Gainsbury said.

“We leave the BBL on good terms, with a solid reputation as a well organised and friendly club, and our aim is to one day be in a position to rejoin the BBL again."

Speaking last week, Thunder head coach Gary Smith signalled that the return to the EBL might be in the best long-term interests.

“It worked well before,” Smithtold MVP. ”It’s manageable. You can look at it that way. Or you can stay in the BBL, with no money, still struggling to find sponsorship. Having to do a full-time job with part-time coaches and players, and struggle on the court.”

BBL Chief Operating Officer Andy Webb added: "We are sorry to see Thunder leave our ranks but they go with our best wishes and we hope to welcome them back in the future."

It is understood that BBL officials are still hopeful of adding a new team for next season despite being rebuffed in their efforts to persuade Manchester Magic to join the league.

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