The British Basketball League has given the Milton Keynes Lions until the end of August to find a new arena, after the club confirmed that thecentre:mk will not host their home games for the upcoming season.

The shopping mall is converting the floor of its exhibition space to carpet, rendering it impossible to use it as a basketball venue.

The team – which outgrew its previous venue , The Bletchley Leisure Centre – is due to move to an arena at the MK Dons stadium starting in 2011-12 . However, until then they are in desperate need of a short-term solution in order to fulfil their fixtures in 2010-11.

Speaking to MVP, Lions owner Vince Macaulay expressed his frustrations at the team’s current predicament.

“It is very disappointing”, he said. “Because we are motivated here to be on a level with European clubs both in the way we play and the product we offer but most importantly trying to create an identity and have a home base. It is disappointing that things can’t keep apace but I always look at everything as a blessing, this is a great opportunity for us to stand up and be responsible for ourselves in totality.”

The Newcastle Eagles announced last week that they would be moving to Northumbria University’s new sports arena, but Macaulay didn’t see a similar deal in the pipeline for the Lions.

“Whilst MK has many assets that old cities don’t have, one of the things we don’t have is the history of [educational] institutions, everything in MK is built for a purpose, as our University grows maybe there is an outlet there, but actually my goal now is our own MK Centre for Basketball under our jurisdiction.”

Despite their current troubles, the team has not encountered any recruitment problems and their owner is confident that the team will be unaffected by their off-court woes.

“We have yet to encounter any problems on the playing front,” asserted Macaulay. “The team is recruited and we are happy with the guys selected, players come here as professionals to do a job and as long as they are not hampered in doing said job, they will be happy to do that.”

The Lions are scheduled to host Tony Garbelotto’s Mersey Tigers in their first home game of the season on the 10th October and Macaulay is remaining positive about the future for the Milton Keynes club.

“From our perspective we have committed fans and sponsors here, we are doing our bit to showcase the sport, if we end up where I want it will be the best thing for British basketball. I thank everyone who has sent messages of support to us, we are touched to receive them.”

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