British Basketball League chairman Ed Percival has hit out at Basketball England for alleged malpractice.

The increasingly vitriolic war of words over the potential loss of the premier league license to BBall UK, an American private equity backed-company, has stepped up a notch with accusations that the Sheffield-based governing body’s review process is “not credible” while rebutting assertions made by its chairman Jan Hagen in an interview with MVP that it is essential to test the market.

“The BBL is incredibly disappointed with the recent Press Releases by BE, which BBL believes have been immensely damaging to the sport,” Percival said. “The Press Releases were released at a time when: The just announced Active People Survey results for basketball were poor, and disappointing; BE failed to get its funding cut in January 2014 restored last month; BE is required to undergo a governance review by HMG; BE recently staged one of the poorest attended National Cup Finals in memory.

“The BBL can also confirm it will shortly appoint financial advisors to deal with any Investment Proposal it may receive from any party.”

The latter comment signals a first willingness that BBL clubs have overtly made to sit down with BBall UK, despite a private ire at the conflict of interest in its evolution of Basketball England chief executive Huw Morgan.

However sources have told MVP that the league has previously rejected a demand to open its books and provide detailed financials by a deadline of January 15, deeming it unworkable. A lack of information on the identity of the proposed investor, and their plans, were also seen as a stumbling block during initial discussions on the issue dating back to 2014.

It is understood at least one BBL team has already reached out privately to BBall UK but with its director Ameesh Manek now offering to reveal full details of the proposed investment package, plus the identity of its backer, either a meeting of minds or legal action seem the only foreseeable routes.

Percival: incensed (Twitter)

Percival: incensed (Twitter)

“Regarding investment proposals for British basketball, the BBL would be pleased to engage with any party that had a serious proposition for investment in basketball in Britain, provided it is done in a professional, legal, and ethical way,” Percival added.

If no resolution is found, it appears now that the relationship between the BBL and the current regime at Basketball England has been damaged beyond repair, while MVP has learnt of one member club of BE who have called for the resignation of its entire board of directors.

“On 27 November 2014,” Percival alleged, “the Basketball England Chairman, Jan Hagen, informed the BBL Chairman in writing that: “Not renewing the BBL licence is not and has never been an objective. I don’t think it’s remotely desirable to launch a separate pro league, so the way forward is to build on the existing franchises.” The BBL has also provided BE with our legal advice regarding the (non compliance) by BE with regards to the law and our contract with BE.”

Additionally, he added, “In addition, the BBL notes it has been utterly confused and concerned by emails we have received on behalf of a private company, set up by the BE CEO prior to any approach to BBL, owned by the BE CEO, registered at his home address, from BE email addresses and from senior BE Directors/ staff.”

BBall UK was formerly registered at Companies House at an address thought to have been the home of Morgan but has now been listed at a London address.

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