East London Royals plans to join the British Basketball League this season have been left in tatters after the club’s place was withdrawn.

MVP understands that financial backing, which would have funded their switch into the top tier from the EBL, fell through last month, raising concerns from league chiefs.

Club sources say they are still intent on entering in 2013, and that the decision of the Lions to re-locate into the nearby Olympic Park in 12 months time, did not impact on their plans.

“We will continue to build the East London Royals brand and our place in the local community,” said Royals chief Mark Clark.

“With new investment, a community programme and a broader financial base we will develop the East London Royals Franchise to a level that will launch in the 2013-2014 season.”

It means the league has returned to 12 teams for the new campaign, which begins later this month with Manchester Giants the sole newcomer.

“We are extremely disappointed to lose East London for next season,” said BBL chief Andy Webb. “We must recognise however that all sporting clubs are operating in difficult financial times and this type of issue is being replicated across multiple sports, and indeed businesses, in the UK and Europe.

“Whilst this was a difficult decision, given their circumstances, we could not be confident of Royals completing the season and that was simply not an option.”

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