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Australian basketball bounces back.

5/12/2009 12:08:48 PM

Basketball Australia (BA) have announced a revamped Australian national basketball league is likely to go ahead beginning in October, despite no teams participating from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.

Last season's champions, the South Dragons from Melbourne and beaten finalists Melbourne Tigers said they would not be applying to join the league, fuelling speculation that the league would be postponed for a year.

The announcement for the new league had been delayed from April 23 as none of the interested franchises had signed a licence agreement.

BA, however, said it planned for a seven team competition with franchises based in Perth, Auckland, the Gold Coast, Adelaide, Wollongong, Cairns and Townsville to start in October but still needed to work on the details with the teams.

The plan is to expand into the major markets in 2010.

Long-term goal

"We are absolutely committed to ensuring that our competition and the teams within it are financially viable and long-term sustainable," BA Chief Executive Larry Sengstock said at a media conference in Sydney.

"We're therefore working with our teams on a two-stage basis.

"Stage one is to work with our teams that we have now because we as a sport recognise that we don't have the ability to take time off.

"We have a number of people who work in our sport, who play our sport, and want to ensure we give them every opportunity to continue in their chosen field.

"Stage two ... is to have a new national competition in 2010."

Financial criteria

BA instituted tough new financial criteria for the new league after several clubs, including those in Sydney and Brisbane, folded in recent years.

Each franchise was expected to produce a guaranteed $766,300 fee to participate and there were several media reports the clubs would baulk at stumping up the cash.

Both the Melbourne franchises had said they could not commit to the new league as it was not financially viable.

Sengstock said in an earlier statement that BA were in discussions with interested parties in Melbourne to join the league and warned the Dragons and Tigers they might not be included in any future plans.

"We have initiated discussions with a number of established Melbourne groups aimed at maintaining a Victorian presence in the league, which could see them included in the 2009/10 season.

"Given Victoria's rich basketball heritage and massive participation base, the Dragons and Tigers are not necessarily the only options open to us in that market.

"Those two teams also need to understand that by choosing to opt out of the league, they have absolutely no guarantees of ever rejoining the competition."

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Publication:Aljazeera.net
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:May 12, 2009
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