Birmingham will likely not be joining the British Basketball League next season, MVP has learnt. But the franchise is still expected to enter for the 2013-14 campaign.

A consortium, led by the locally-based Oaks Consultancy, was awarded a franchise last June by the BBL with a pledge to begin operations this autumn.

However, it is understood that work to construct an 800-capacity basketball venue within the International Futsal Arena, which is already the base for community programmes attached to the new club, has been suspended.

And following discussions with the BBL chiefs, the league is now expected to grant Oaks formal approval to postpone their entry for a further 12 months.

Team officials insist that their ambitious project remains on track. “We’ve not got a name yet and we’re looking for sponsors,” confirmed senior partner Michelle Forgan. “We’re working with the BBL and we’ll issue further details in May.”

The BBL – which will stage its annual play-off final in the city at the National indoor Arena next month – is not commenting publically on the decision.

They are unlikely to be unduly concerned at the move, with the strong possibility of adding at least one new entrant for the 2012-13 campaign from a group of four applicants – including London and Manchester – who are currently awaiting approval from the league’s franchise committee.

The last BBL club to operate in the city, the Birmingham Panthers, folded after just one season in 2008, two years after the Bullets brought their 32-year association with the Midlands to an end.

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