- National Teams
Newly issued Covid-19 guidance for England from the government has had significant impact on basketball’s return to action at all levels, along with putting the BBL and WBBL’s season in jeopardy.
From today, senior (18+) indoor basketball, other than at elite level, must only take place in groups of up to six people, whilst fans will now not be allowed to return to elite sporting events, potentially for up to six months.
The BBL – whose season was meant to start October 2 – and the WBBL have released a statement urging the government for immediate support:
“We recognise that the Government is taking these measures in the interests of the nation’s health and we fully support them in that.
“However, to remove the possibility of such a vital source of income only a week before we were due to start our season means we have no option but to call on the Government for immediate support at this crucial time.
“The viability of our league, the only professional men’s basketball league in the UK, is predicated on the ticket income as thousands of fans show their support each week and without this support we are in danger of losing clubs who work in the heart of their communities, as well as the current and future generations of talented sportspeople.”
The impact of not allowing fans back to sport means we have no option but to call on Government for immediate support. Full statement here https://t.co/TT1Isb6oLd
— British Basketball League (@BBLofficial) September 23, 2020
Sheffield Sharks General Manager Sarah Backovic has told the Yorkshire Post she expects the start of the BBL season to be delayed.
Meanwhile, indoor Under-18s basketball and senior elite basketball remain exempt from the ‘rule of six’ social distancing restrictions, so NBL Division 1, along with the EABL, WEABL and junior national leagues and local leagues (under-18) can continue training and competitive play.
Basketball England have also revealed they are examining the feasibility of 3×3 competition for non-elite seniors as an alternative to the 5v5 game, in their statement on the updated guidance.
For now ABL teams can continue to train 5v5 with U18 squad players with those deemed as U19 training in bubbles of no more than 6.
— ABL (@Official_ABL) September 24, 2020
Full Basketball England statement following the Government's latest Covid-19 announcement
— Basketball England (@bballengland) September 23, 2020
In line with the Government guidance, spectators are not permitted at any basketball activity at any level of the game.
“It is disappointing to see restrictions placed on the game after the patience, hard work and dedication from everyone in the sport,” Basketball England CEO Stewart Kellett commented.
“Clubs have been resilient, flexible and respectful of the Government guidelines and our Return to Play guidance to work under such difficult conditions.
“The Government recognises this latest move is a blow for indoor sport. We will continue to work with them and Sport England to find an approach that maintains the safety of our members and everyone in basketball, whilst getting everyone back on the court as soon as possible.
“We will push for the further clarity in the guidance, ongoing support to help the game survive and, where possible, influence the Government to safely reduce the constraints on the non-elite senior game.
“We will provide regular updates as further information emerges.”