BBL ends seasons early with no title awarded

The playoffs were scheduled for April to May, with the final to be held at the O2 Arena in London

The British basketball league ended the 2019-20 season early and the title will not be awarded.

The clubs unanimously agreed that the season – postponed on March 17 and scheduled to end on May 17 – could not be completed because of the coronavirus.

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"It is not a sport with big reservations – we do not have significant broadcasting rights like football," said Andy Webb, BBL's director of operations.

"It is not feasible to play behind closed doors – we have the assistance".

Glasgow Rocks were four points ahead of the London Lions at the top of the table after playing yet another game when the season was interrupted.

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"Obviously, this is not how someone wants to see the end of the season," said BBL President Sir Rodney Walker.

"We looked at all options, including playing behind closed doors or restarting the season in the summer, but with continued uncertainty, we ran out of time and options."

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BBL says it expects to start the 2020-21 season in the fall, but a date will depend on government advice on what will be allowed for indoor areas.

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Rob Dugdale, BBC Sport

BBL's priority was the stability of the league and is confident that the 11 teams that were operating in March, when the blockade became inevitable, will still be there for 2020-21.

Restarting the season with the goal of finishing at the end of August would always be a challenge. To do this, foreign players would need to be transported back and quarantined before even touching a basketball.

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That would cost money that playing behind closed doors could not have cost. After BBL's biggest payday – May's record-breaking potential audience at the O2 Arena – was lost, pressing the reset button for the fall was a no-brainer.

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The license scheme has helped many clubs to remain viable, but more government assistance may be needed to ensure that the next season runs smoothly for BBL and WBBL.

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