ONLY WAY IS OUT FOR ESSEX

Essex Pirates are out of the British Basketball League, just two weeks before the start of the new season, MVP has learnt.

It is understood that with the withdrawal of the club’s major sponsor has left the Southend-based side in an impossible financial position with the BBL confirming that their “franchise has been withdrawn with immediate effect.”

Pirates management had been considering a move to Crystal Palace in an attempt to improve their fan base as well as an ability to attract sponsors.

However the BBL will now start the season with just 11 clubs – with Glasgow Rocks now likely to earn a bye into the quarter-finals of the Cup and non-league London Leopards filling Essex’s spot in the Trophy.

“The decision has been reached after a franchise review, which followed notification of potential operational challenges by the Pirates management,” said a BBL spokesperson.

After coming second from bottom in their debut campaign two years ago, the Pirates – coached Tim Lewis – finished in last place in the 2010-11 season.

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