Basketball Ireland has announced a new intended start date for their National Leagues
BASKETBALL Ireland has today criticised the 'unfair halting' on Thursday last of their National League programme, which was due to commence last weekend.
Basketball Ireland has also sought explanation and assurances from authorities in order that it can plan the launch of its season.
Two Limerick sides, Limerick Celtics and UL Eagles, are due to compete in the Division 1 South Conference of the Men's National League.
Two more Limerick sides, Limerick Sport Huskies and Limerick Celtics women's team, are due to play in the Women’s Division One South Conference of the Women's National League.
"Mixed messages and lack of firm commitments has led us to postpone the beginning of the season in order that our clubs can plan effectively," Basketball Ireland said in a statement issued today.
The Men’s National Competitions Committee (MNCC) has declared its intention to start the season on Saturday, January 9 and run a shortened season to March/April.
THE MNCC plan to commence with National Cup competitions, with the aim of maintaining the traditional Cup Final weekend in late January 'if at all possible'.
The Women’s National League Committee (WNLC) are meeting on Thursday and have indicated they’re also likely to confirm a start date of January 9.
In their statement, Basketball Ireland say they will look at the amended season structure in the coming weeks, including relegation and promotion options, along with taking on board the views of clubs and members.
The statement continued: "This is a decision made reluctantly, but in the interest of our players and clubs. Basketball Ireland will continue to support the national effort to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
"As the leading indoor team sport in Ireland we hope that, in turn, authorities will support us."
Basketball Ireland Chief Executive and Chair of the MNCC, Bernard O’Byrne, said: “As an organisation that has gone out of its way to comply with all guidelines and even to add further restrictions internally, I have to admit to being disappointed at the lack of information and consultation of the decision to halt our National Leagues.
"Our 51 National League teams across the country had spent a lot of money, time and effort in preparing for the season and all our protocols had been approved by the Sport Expert Group.
"We understand the pressure decision-makers are under, but communication is a basic necessity in these times and we feel very let down. The MNCC are taking this re-focussing initiative, which the WNLC have indicated they’re likely to follow too.
"We know this will not please everybody in the sport, but we feel that this is the best of several not-ideal options left to us. We ask everybody for their co-operation.”