BBL KEEP CHESHIRE JETS GOING

Cheshire Jets will be run by the British Basketball League, while attempts to find a buyer for the club are found.

It means that Sunday’s game against Mersey Tigers will go ahead as planned at the Northgate Arena.

The move comes after previous owner Hadyn Cook was removed from the franchise after he approached the BBL on Tuesday to ask for a postponement of the Tigers fixture, admitting that he was unable to support the Northgate outfit financially and revealing plans to make all staff, players included, redundant with immediate effect.

Refusing the request, the businessman was instead been stripped of the franchise, leaving the team’s future unclear.

“The BBL have withdrawn the Cheshire franchise from its operating company with immediate effect,” the league confirmed in a statement.

“The decision follows an urgent review of the franchise following notification from the club that they were unable to fulfil their fixture this weekend. The BBL is currently exploring a number of options to ensure the continuation of the franchise. It is anticipated there will be a further announcement in the coming days.”

Jets came close to exiting the league in the summer while previous owner Peter Hawkins attempted to sell up.

Finding someone to take over might not be easy. But, said one BBL source, “we feel there is a viable franchise there.”

Cook, who had already been under fire for losing player-coach James Hamilton in the opening week of the season, told the Cheshire Chronicle that he had no option but to pull out.

“I tried,” he said. “I had a lot of support, particularly from our sponsor Terry Hearfield who has been fantastic, but in the end the costs just didn’t add up. Given a couple of years we maybe could have made it work but I could not keep it going for that long.”

The club first entered the lower-tier NBL in 1986 and has been in the BBL since 1991.

It is unclear what will happen to the Jets community programmes and foundation if no way is found to secure their future in the league.

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