The British Basketball League has announced that the East London Royals have pulled out of the 2012/13 season but will the newly-formed club will look to compete in the 2013/14 campaign instead.
TalkBasket has been informed that the Royals, led by Mark Clark are in talks with a financial backer after another one pulled out before the season begins on Friday night.
“While we are bitterly disappointed to withdraw at this late stage, it is absolutely the correct decision for East London Royals and the BBL,” Clark said.
“We will continue to build the East London Royals brand and our place in the local community. With new investment, a community programme and a broader financial base we will develop the East London Royals franchise to a level that will launch in the 2013-2014 season.”
BBL officials have also stated that the parking of the Royals franchise is in no way related to new neighbours London Lions, who have relocated from Milton Keynes following venue problems.
The Lions will play their home games this season at Crystal Palace before moving to the Olympic Park in Stratford, where they will play at the Copper Box Arena, roughly 20 miles from the Royals’ suggested home venue.
BBL Chief Operating Officer Andy Webb said: We are extremely disappointed to lose East London for next season. We must recognise however that all sporting clubs are operating in difficult financial times and this type of issue is being replicated across multiple sports, and indeed businesses, in the UK and Europe.
“Whilst this was a difficult decision, given their circumstances, we could not be confident of Royals completing the season and that was simply not an option”.