The BBL has admitted it needs financial help if its season is to go ahead.

The British Basketball League has called on government to provide assistance to mitigate the effects of being forced to play behind closed doors for the foreseeable future.

A board conference call on Wednesday is understood to have discussed various options, with a number of clubs insistent that the season should not start as planned next week, given that no fans will be permitted – and that revenue lost – under the latest set of Covid-19 protocols unveiled by various administrations within the UK.

“We agreed we couldn’t go ahead without crowds,” one told MVP ahead of the talks. “It won’t, and we’ll be strong on that. Clubs can’t operate on that basis. Pay per view streaming can’t cover the costs of salaries even.

“At best, it has to be pulled back but to when? Do we want to see if we get government help and push it to January, or give up on the season?”

That tough call has not yet been taken, league officials confirmed, although the BBL is now up against the clock with nine days until its scheduled tip-off.

A stream of sports, including football’s Premier League and England Rugby, have called for assistance for public funds during the past 48 hours amid warnings of clubs folding and sports hitting a crisis point.

Add basketball now to the list.

In a statement, the BBL said: “Following the Government announcement on 22 September that fans will not be allowed back to sporting events, we are currently assessing the impact this will have on professional basketball in the UK.

“The UK is a great sporting nation and the positive impact that sport has on communities and on physical and mental health can be seen at all levels from grassroots through to elite levels. As such, it is no exaggeration to say that the impact of this decision will be deeply felt by all 11 BBL clubs and the communities they operate in.

“We recognise that the Government is taking these measures in the interests of the nation’s health and we fully support them in that.

“However, to remove the possibility of such a vital source of income only a week before we were due to start our season means we have no option but to call on the Government for immediate support at this crucial time.

“The viability of our league, the only professional men’s basketball league in the UK, is predicated on the ticket income as thousands of fans show their support each week and without this support we are in danger of losing clubs who work in the heart of their communities, as well as the current and future generations of talented sportspeople.”

Various clubs currently have different financial exposures with Newcastle and Leicester facing a hefty penalty if the season is scrapped due to the costs of owning their venues.

Others have been affected in different ways with Scotland’s rules meaning Glasgow cannot practice indoors with their newly-arrived foreign contingent required to quarantine for two weeks. As yet, the Rocks are not officially permitted to play games even behind closed doors, according to Scottish Government guidance issued on Monday that states: “only Professional football, rugby and racing can take place behind closed doors, with suitable health protection measures in place.”

Cheshire and Manchester, it is believed, have not brought their overseas signings into the country with one eye on a possible delay to the season.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • Print

You must be logged in to post a comment Login