HOPE REMAINS FOR LEEDS FRANCHISE

Leeds could retain a British Basketball League club next season – even if the current Force franchise has played its last game.

League chiefs are due to meet in the coming weeks as a review is undertaken of the Yorkshire side following a campaign in which they earned widespread derision for winning only one league game on the court while catering to an ever-dwindling fan base off it.

It had been widely expected that the club would exit the BBL and fold come the summer.

However MVP has learnt that a consortium has approached league chiefs to look at the possibility of taking the franchise over with a promise to pick it off the floor and build something tangible.

A league source said: “If – and it’s not a done deal yet – the Leeds franchise is removed from the current owners, then there is someone waiting in the wings to come in which could mean the league stays at 12 teams. But we’ll have to hold further discussions.”

It is understood that a franchise application from Reading will also be considered in the off-season with strong interest in joining but that Birmingham Rockets – backed by NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon have, as expected, declined to move into the top flight until 2019 at the earliest.

Earlier this week, it was confirmed Colchester-based Essex Rebels will join the WBBL next term, based at the new £12 million Essex Sport Arena. It is not expected that a BBL club will be following suit.

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