London City Royals owner Jon Sawyer has revealed the club may be set to fold.

The BBL Trophy holders, in their second season in existence, have postponed Saturday’s scheduled game against Surrey Scorchers while they consider “the viability of the club in the current season”.

It follows the prior cancellation of a contest against Glasgow earlier this month which saw the capital outfit fined £5000 and docked a victory for the late no-show.

MVP has learnt that Royals are facing legal action from a number of players and officials for alleged non-payment of salaries from their inaugural campaign with Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Ashley Hamilton and ex-coach Jay Williams believed to be among those owed significant sums.

Sawyer bankrolled some of the highest wages offered in the BBL for two decades in a bid to make an instant impact while also openly exploring the concept of moving games this season from Crystal Palace to Wembley Arena, despite paltry crowds.

Now, Sawyer has confirmed, the blank cheques have turned into a black hole that may see them exit the league, blaming a lack of incoming revenue for the issue.

In a statement, he said: “It is with deep regret that London City Royals is going to have to postpone the game against Surrey Scorchers tomorrow.

“We are in the process of examining the viability of the club in the current season, and this has resulted in us unable to put a game on tomorrow.

“We will keep you all updated on our situation in the next few days.

“May I thank you for your support. We have been ambitious in our goals for the team, the outreach community work and our vision for our team as being a real force for social change.

“This is against a backdrop of basketball being recognised as increasing in popularity and the sport being acknowledged to deliver real social impact, especially for those most in need in London. However, the financial support for the sport has been very difficult to find.”

Multiple players on the London City roster confirmed to MVP that they were given no prior notice of the statement with one claiming that the possible closure leaves them “in a deep hole”.

Fans who bought tickets for the Surrey contest have been told to ask for a refund with the team next due to play on January 5 with a visit to Surrey to begin the defence of their Trophy title.

“We hope to be making a further update in the next 7 days,” Sawyer added. “For those who have purchased tickets for the game on the 28th – these tickets will be valid for a new date (subject to confirmation by the BBL). If you require a full refund please advise by return.”

BBL officials declined further comment but confirmed they are monitoring the situation.

Photo: MAP


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