sport

BBA reveal league plans

The British Basketball Association has announced plans to launch a new professional basketball league in the UK next year.

The group, which counts ex-NBA star John Amaechi as a co-director, would launch as a rival to the existing British Basketball League and hopes to be playing competitive games by November 2014.

The league plans to have an initial eight franchises based in cities across the UK, and aims to recruit a mix of homegrown players and international stars.

Ken Olisa, the BBA's chairman, said: "There's an established and fast growing basketball fanbase in the UK and, with a mix of star talent and the best in sport entertainment, I'm confident the BBA league matches will become key dates in the sporting calendar.

"We're passionate about complementing what the NBA stands for globally and we have the right management team in place and an inviting business proposition that we hope will attract considerable interest. "

British Basketball, meanwhile, has invited the board of UK Sport to attend Sunday's BBL Cup final in Birmingham as it urges the body to reconsider its decision to end all funding of Britain's basketball teams following the Olympics.

In December UK Sport announced that basketball would receive no funding ahead of the 2016 Olympics after the men's and women's teams finished outside the medals in London.

But that has been criticised as a short-sighted move given the tremendous strides made by both teams in their short existence, as they were only formed in 2006 and then quickly rose through the European and world rankings to convince world governing body FIBA they were worthy of an Olympic place.

British Basketball officials want UK Sport board members to attend Sunday's clash between the Leicester Riders and Newcastle Eagles so they can make the case for the sport's ongoing development.

A spokesperson for British Basketball said: "We are planning to appeal the decision but we also want to demonstrate the passion of basketball fans as well as the high standard of play and quality of players to members of the UK Sport board first hand. We believe we have a very strong case for a reconsideration of our funding."

A petition has also been set up on the government website to gather support for a revision of the funding decision.