BBL: London Royals fold because of financial issues
|BBL & WBBL Cup Finals (Birmingham Arena)|
|Date: Sun 26 January|
|Coverage: BBC Red Button, Sport website and app, connected TV WBBL Final: Durham Palatinates v Sevenoaks Suns 11:50-14:00 BBL Final: Bristol Flyers v Worcester Wolves 15:20-17:30|
London City Royals have confirmed that they are dropping out of the BBL after failing to secure finance for the remainder of the season.
The Royals, who won the BBL Trophy and made the play-offs final last season, had admitted they were struggling.
"The operation of an elite professional team in the BBL is no longer viable and so we must cease trading with immediate effect," said a club statement.
Their league results from this season will be removed from the records.
Bristol, their scheduled Trophy quarter-final opponents, will receive a bye through to the semi-finals of the competition.
A BBL statement confirmed the Royals' demise, saying: "We are obviously very disappointed by the Royals' decision to withdraw from BBL, which will be felt across the basketball community.
"Our thoughts are particularly with Royals' players, staff and supporters, for whom this will be an extremely difficult time."
The Royals entered the league in 2018 with a number of high-profile signings, including Great Britain internationals Orlan Jackman, Will Neighbour, Jules Dang Akodo and marquee names Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Ashley Hamilton, who both returned from playing abroad.
This season, Bryan-Amaning and Hamilton left, to be replaced by former Lithuania internationals Darjus and Ksistof Lavrinovic, who have also since left.
GB Olympian Andrew Lawrence, who joined the Royals at the start of the season, is another high-profile player who will be looking for a new club.
The team won their first six games of this season in the cup group stages but they recently had a game awarded against them for a late cancellation.
The team were fined on Christmas Eve for postponing the game against Glasgow in early December and they cancelled another game, against Surrey, over the festive period.
In the space of three days in January, two former players received bans after testing positive for banned substances last season.