Birmingham Knights Logo 568The newly-named Birmingham Knights could be the only new entrant in the British Basketball League for next season after it was confirmed that East London Royals have been forced to pull out of moving into the top flight.

It is the second successive summer that the Royals have withdrawn, with financial reasons understood to be behind the decision.

With Essex Leopards also opting out, it leaves a bid from Bristol as the only new applicant still alive in the race to join for the start of the 2013-14 campaign in September.

However the hopefuls, plus Mersey Tigers, have been given an extended deadline of May 25 to prove their case for inclusion.

Meanwhile Edinburgh and Leeds Carnegie are set to come into the BBL in 2014 after passing the evaluation stages of their respective bids to receive a franchise.

It is understood that a St. Louis-based group, led by businessman Donald Sampley, has won the backing of the BBL’s board for an Edinburgh team to be based at Meadowbank Arena, bringing the league back to the city for the first time since the Rocks left for Glasgow in 2002.

“They have made an application,” confirmed BBL chief executive Andy Webb. “We’re now engaged in a process to take things forward.”

Leeds Carnegie, backed by their university, have also received a provisional nod for the 2014-15 campaign and may be awarded a place in this season’s BBL Trophy.

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