Ordering sport to be played behind closed doors until 2021 could see clubs shuttered for good, one BBL boss has warned.

Government plans to exit the coronavirus lockdown suggest large gatherings will be banned “for some time to come”.

That’s sparked fears that that games and events will only be allowed to go ahead without fans in stadiums or arenas.

But that option could kill us off, claims Glasgow Rocks supremo Duncan Smillie who’s revealed empty stands would completely clear out the basketball side’s coffers.

He said: “The general thought is that no sport will be played in front of fans this year. So the best case is that you have games behind closed doors. For a sport like basketball, that’s just not viable. The vast majority of the income we get is from people coming through the door.

“My priority is to keep Glasgow Rocks alive. But it’s going to be very tough. It’s probably touch and go even though myself and the other directors have injected cash into the business.

“We’ve taken a real hit. Sponsors are saying they can’t commit to next year and I understand that when they have businesses which are on hold.

“Some teams are offering season tickets in advance but I don’t know what we can offer now. The impact has been seismic. And we’re going to be severely compromised for a while.”

One BBL coach told MVP that “they should plan to start the season next January with a pre-season in November or December”, a worst-case scenario option which remains part of the contingency planning process.

And although the league’s chair, Rodney Walker, is understood to have made representations to the UK government regarding financial help, Lions chief Vince Macaulay believes that there will be other options available which might pave the way to a restart.

“Whatever the new norm is, we have to get used to it,” he said. “I would say that we could be seeing basketball back by September or October.”

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