British Basketball League could cease to exist thanks to Basketball England

Basketball England will be reviewing the licensing arrangements for its professional league in the summer, which could have an effect on the British Basketball League and its clubs.

The governing body has also revealed that it has set up a 4-person review committee, two elected and two independent to consider all available options “including but not limited to a competitive tender process and negotiation with the existing licensee of the professional basketball league, with a view to renewing existing arrangements.”

The current licence, which has been virtually unchanged since 1987, is due to expire in August.

“Basketball England is the guardian of basketball in the country and we are determined to see the sport reach its full potential here,” Jan Hagen, chairman of Basketball England said in a statement. “Our singular objective is to see the licence awarded to the organisation with a deliverable plan most likely to take the sport to the next level.”

“The committee will consist of two elected board members and two appointed, independent members. The committee will engage with interested parties as appropriate and make recommendations to the Board of Basketball England.

“While timescales will be short, the Board of Basketball England has to ensure that the arrangements for the professional league are in line with the aims and objectives of Basketball England and that the professional league is fully engaged with the governing body’s holistic approach to the sport in this country.”

British Basketball League officials have stated that they have received no advance warning, yet British basketball website MVP 24/7 has revealed that representatives from BE first approached the BBL to confirm a review was being considered two weeks ago.

The timing of this statement and indeed this move will surprise many with the oversight of the professional league due to be passed on to the new British Basketball Federation from 2016.

While it is theoretically possible that existing BBL sides could go ahead and run their own professional league independently, regardless of the outcome, FIBA are unlikely to be sanctioning this move.