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BBL confirms delayed start to 2020/21 season

The British Basketball League has confirmed they will delay the start of the 2020/21 season, which had been due to tip-off this weekend.

Following the Government announcement on September 22nd that fans will not be allowed back to sporting events, the league has been assessing the effect this will have on professional basketball in the UK.

The ongoing impact of the latest Government guidelines continues to be felt throughout the British Basketball League with the start of the 2020/21 season now on hold as discussions continue with the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS).

Sir Rodney Walker, Chair of the British Basketball League, has today (Wednesday, September 30th) written to Secretary of State Oliver Dowden in support of a submission for financial support being made by BBL and Basketball England.

In the letter, Sir Rodney detailed the impact on the BBL and WBBL as well as the effects being felt on the community work carried out by clubs. The letter was also sent to Nigel Huddleston, Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Dame Katherine Grainger, Chair of UK Sport, and to Nick Bitel, Chair of Sport England.

The 2020/21 season had been due to start on Friday, October 2nd with the first round of BBL Cup games, with Championship games slated for Friday, November 13th. However, the late notice given by the Government that fans were not being allowed to return to sports venues has put those plans on hold even as clubs were at advanced stages with their pre-season preparations.

Bristol Sport’s Head of Safety Dave Storr has established an operating model to enable a safe number of fans to attend - when they are allowed to do so. We remain hopeful that when our season does begin, that we will be able to welcome fans to watch from both inside SGS but also via a live streaming platform.

Flyers Head Coach Andreas Kapoulas said: "I’d like to thank our season card holders and sponsors for their ongoing support during what can only be described as a very difficult time for the club.

“There has been a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes to put together a competitive roster as well as making SGS College Covid secure for our home fixtures, so to receive the news that we have had to delay the start of the season has been a real setback.

“The team has been training in line with level 2 of Basketball England’s return to play guidelines for the last few weeks.

“We are open to the idea of starting the new season behind closed doors - however this isn’t a sustainable way of operating and we need government support to make this happen.

"In the meantime, we are looking at further opportunities to play pre-season games behind closed doors to keep our team game-ready for when the time comes."

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