Oaklands Wolves have been forced to postpone their WBBL opener after it emerged their imports would have to sit out.

It means their trip to Caledonia Pride, scheduled for Sunday, will be postponed to later in the season with the Edinburgh outfit now also handed a delay to the start of their own 2020-21 campaign.

Covid-related, but not due to positive tests.

Despite booking travel, it was confirmed on New Year’s Eve that the Hertfordshire outfit’s five overseas players, all newly-arrived in the UK, were effectively barred from travelling to Scotland by quarantine rules which do not offer the same exemptions to professional sportspeople north of the border to immediately compete as they do in England.

“We had the numbers,” confirmed Wolves coach Lee Ryan. “Covid regulations in Scotland do not allow English teams to play their players that have exemptions. So we were without our five international players.

“We were all ready to go following all our rules correctly and then told we can’t.”

The rule differences across the border also means BBL teams bringing in players from overseas will not be able to have them travel for games at Glasgow Rocks until they have served a ten-day self-isolation period within the UK.

While earlier this week, Scottish League champions Falkirk Fury were forced to turn down a glamour clash against one of the giants of the British Basketball League due to lockdown rules.

The amateurs had won a wild card invite into the BBL Trophy with the potential of a David against Goliath clash on the table.

But Sportscotland effectively barred the Fury from taking up their place on the grounds it is not an elite club, even though England’s non-league teams south of the border were given an exemption from Covid rules to train and play games against professional opponents.

And with doubts over whether they could even travel south of the border for an away tie, pulling out was the only option, coach John Bunyan admitted.

“Given the nature of the opposition and having had no meaningful training, that left us with no choice but to withdraw,” he said. “I believe there could have been a lot more dialogue back in September surrounding our training options and in turn our participation.

“It’s disappointing not just for Fury, but for the grassroots side of Scottish basketball, that participation in this event is now limited to one Scottish club.”

With the Scottish League’s 2020-21 campaign wiped out, Basketball Scotland have guaranteed that Falkirk can take up a spot in the following season’s Trophy.

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