There will not be a Birmingham-based team in the BBL next season, as previously announced, and the franchise will now join the league for the 2013/14 season.
Last summer, Oaks Consultancy confirmed it had acquired a franchise to play in the BBL out of the Futsal International Arena in Birmingham, but a delay in the build at the venue means they will now not be able to compete in the 2012/13 campaign.
A statement read: “While this is obviously a huge disappointment to BBL Birmingham, Oaks, the BBL and the city of Birmingham, as it is unavoidable, we must now look to the positives, not least of which being the fantastic community programme that has been created since re-igniting the BBL light in Birmingham.
“BBL Birmingham has been working closely with a number of partner organisations including Hoops4Health, the Futsal International Arena Birmingham and BSEF (Birmingham Sports and Education Foundation) to develop a successful activity programme in the local community. The programme is going from strength to strength and continues to grow providing fantastic opportunities for the people of Birmingham as well as an impressive community grounding for the team when it begins competing in 2013.”
Mark Walker, Managing Partner of Oaks Consultancy and franchise owners of BBL Birmingham, reiterated the club’s commitment to the team and the community in the following statement:
“Oaks acquired the Birmingham franchise with the intention of entering a team in the 2012/13 season, but unfortunately for us and the city of Birmingham, this is now no longer possible due to unforeseen circumstances. However, we are confident that our new home venue at the Futsal International Arena Birmingham will be completed well in advance of the start of the 2013/14 season when we look forward to hosting our first competitive BBL game.
“In the meantime however, our community programme is now well established and proving a great success, continuing to grow at an impressive rate. As this was an integral part of our overall objectives when we first took over the franchise, we are delighted with the impact we’re having within the local community and will endeavour to continue to grow this side of the club as a fundamental component of the team’s activities once we are fully up and running next season.”
It was announced earlier this week that Manchester Giants and East London Royals would join the BBL for the new season, which takes the current number of teams to 13, although there remains doubt over the future of the Mersey Tigers franchise, treble winners just two seasons ago.