PLeeds Force’s spell in the BBL is over.

And so is professional basketball in the city, for now, with initial discussions to find backers for a replacement franchise proving fruitless.

Following one of the worst campaigns in league history which saw the Yorkshire outfit’s fan base dwindle into the dozens, confirmation on Monday that the Force will no longer be with us came as no surprise.

The BBL had formality of an end of season review to complete but it was long understood the current owners – who took over only last summer – would have been stripped of their franchise even if they had carried on, with sources confirming that Leeds had not been given any formal shares in the league with fees understood to have remained unpaid.

And so it came to pass.

It is set to reduce the BBL to 11 teams next term with no replacements forthcoming despite some interesting from Reading.

A club statement read: “It is with great sadness that we today have to announce the end of the road for Leeds Force.

“It hasn’t been a secret that this past season has not been one anyone involved with the club wanted it to be.  The club has faced numerous challenges throughout the season that were unforeseen and this has meant that providing the necessary investment to maintain a competitive team on the floor has become unsustainable.
“We have had a great four years and notched up wins against all but one of the other BBL teams (damn those Wolves!).  We hope that we have brought entertainment to those who have witnessed some of our huge games and provided some great memories.
“It is with a heavy heart that this move sees the end of professional basketball in West Yorkshire, which is a shame because it is a region that deserves a strong and successful basketball team to support in the BBL.  However, we would like to thank everyone who we have worked with over the past four years including players, coaches, volunteers, sponsors and most of all the fans.  Leeds may have been the minnow in the BBL but the fans were truly an inspiration to all the players who wore the jersey.”
The BBL confirmed it will announce its competition plans next month. It also revealed next season’s Playoff final will again be held at London’s 02 Arena on Sunday 19 May.



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