bbl_tv_568Essex/London Leopards will not join the British Basketball League next season, as originally planned.

The decision, league sources confirmed, is due to financial reasons, with the EBL club pulling out 12 months after they were originally awarded a franchise to begin in the 2013-14 season.

The status of East London Royals is also up in the air. Despite being handed an extra year to prepare after requesting a postponement on their planned entry last summer, the Royals have been set a deadline of Friday May 3 to provide assurances over their ability to cope with a move into the top-flight.

It is also understood that Mersey Tigers’ place is additionally under threat following a campaign in which they failed to win a single game. The Liverpool-based club have been asked to provide evidence of their plans to improve on and off the floor with a number of BBL board members thought to favour a proposal that the 2011 champions should drop down into the semi-pro EBL next season.

Their management has also been given until May 3 to present a valid case to the league’s franchise committee.

Birmingham is currently the sole new team confirmed for next term.

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