Durham Wildcats have pulled out of the British Basketball League.

The move follows a review into the club at the end of last season with the new work permit rules, squeezing out the use of university scholarships, understood to be the key factor in their withdrawal.

However a lack of commercial progress and support has also come in for criticism from elsewhere within the BBL.

“As a club, our playing structure has been built around recruiting athletes who also study at Durham University and this model has served us well in both the Basketball England National Leagues and, more recently, in the British Basketball League,” Wildcats officials said, in a statement.

“Unfortunately the recent clarifications from the Border Agency have resulted in this model no longer providing us with the base from which to recruit a competitive team and, with that in mind, it was felt that it was in the interests of both the club and the BBL for the Durham Wildcats to withdraw from the league for the 2015/16 season.

“We are committed to using the next six months to build a structure that will enable us to successfully re-gain entry into the league. Inevitably there will need to be a far greater commercial focus to our model and we would welcome any expressions of support from interested parties.”

It means that the remaining 12 clubs will play fewer games next season, each team facing each other three times.

It has been confirmed that the BBL Trophy will see four non-BBL clubs included but the league has also declined to confirm that the Playoff final will return to London’s 02 Arena.

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