BBL clubs are facing a “real problem” if fans are not allowed to attend games by next month.

That’s the harsh reality depicted by Leicester Riders managing director Russell Levenston as the odds lengthen on being able to start the new British Basketball League campaign at the end of the September, as provisionally scheduled.

With the UK Government last week abandoning a small number of initial pilots at sporting events which would have allowed a limited number of attendees, there is no longer any firm date at re-opening venues in England.

The only approximate indication came from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement last month that the public “should be allowed back into stadiums by October.”

As it stands, only Glasgow Rocks are slated to be able to host reduced numbers of supporters, under strict social distancing guidelines, if the Scottish Government proceeds with its scheduled easing on September 14.

London Lions are also poised to host the home leg of their opening Basketball Champions League tie with Neptunas behind closed doors, costing the club a significant chunk of revenue.

And Levenston, whose club owns and operates its own facility at the Morningside Arena, has revealed the shutdown is pushing the Riders towards a major crisis.

“After pilots being pulled last week, we are now really concerned,” he told BBC Radio Leicester. “We are at a critical stage of business, we’re talking about hundreds of jobs. “If we’re not able to put events and basketball on at this facility, we could have a real problem.”

“It will affect the future of the club and the work we do in the community. Up until now we have found a way to survive. “We’ve done an enormous amount of work to make this place COVID secure, a one-way system, track and trace, so we are ready to welcome fans in.”

No fixtures for the 2020-21 BBL season – or that of the WBBL – have yet been announced and it is understood various options have been drafted to cope with a delayed start.

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