The British Basketball League is to seek legal advice over Basketball England’s threat to strip it of its operating licence.

It comes 24 hours after the English governing body made public its plans to review the BBL’s current agreement which has allowed its member franchise to run the top tier independently since 1987.

Former Great Britain women’s coach – and current Barking Academy chief – Mark Clark and Manchester Giants coach Jeff Jones are to be on the four-person panel that will review the licence, according to Press Association reports, joining two nominated directors of Basketball England.

League board members, MVP has learnt, met last week but had yet to learn of Basketball England’s proposal which floats the idea of putting the licensing contract out to tender – and potentially putting the league and its clubs out of business.

“The BBL was not advised of this release in advance,” league chairman Ed Percival said. “The BBL also does not believe the process set out by Basketball England is credible, or contractually compliant, or has the options implied. BBL is disappointed its Governing Body put this matter into the public domain, because of the inevitable damage to the sport.

“BBL is awaiting a response to a letter sent to Mr. Hagen, the Chairman of BE on 29th December 2014. BBL is taking further advice, and reserves all rights.”

Basketball England’s move follows seven months after the body signalled its interest in taking over the British Basketball Performance body, which – like the oversight of the BBL – is due to past to the soon-to-be created British Basketball Federation from 2016.

The Sheffield-based body has strengthened its commercial and media operations in recent months with speculations raised that it may seek to bring the professional league back under its direct control.

Ultimately, the great anomaly could be Glasgow Rocks, the BBL’s only non-English side, whose situation is even more unclear despite its joint affiliation to both BE and Basketball Scotland.

“We will need to digest the plans before deciding on where we sit,” said Rocks chairman Ian Reid. “But our intention would be that the Rocks will continue and that we will expect to be involved in whatever plans ensues and remain one of the premier basketball franchises in the UK.”

Others have reacted to the news that the management of the premier division could be handed to a third party.

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