The UK’s British Basketball Federation (BBF) governing body has announced that it has terminated Basketball League Ltd’s (BLL) license to operate the country’s top-tier of professional basketball, the British Basketball League.

BLL acquired a 10-year operating license for the league in 2017, but that has now been terminated, with the BBF searching for new parties to step in. In a statement, the BBF said that it had been provided with information concerning the league’s finances that put its future into doubt, most notably that BLL has entered into arrangements with two major creditors.

US investment firm 777 Partners, owner of the league’s London Lions franchise, purchased a 45% stake in the competition in 2021, but has since become stricken financially (as seen in the aborted takeover of soccer club Everton) to the point where last month British Basketball League chair Sir Rodney Walker stated that the league was seeking alternative investment and was in talks with new parties to replace 777.

In the interim, the BFF said that it is “taking measures” to ensure that the 2024-25 season of the league does go ahead.

The announcement comes only weeks after the May 19 final of the league's 2023-24 campaign.

In response to the measures by the BBF terminating BLL’s license, seven of the league’s 10 teams released near-identical statements in support of the BFF’s decision, stating: “In what has been a very challenging period in recent times, the decision to act by the BBF has been accepted in good faith by the incumbent club members of the British Basketball League.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

 “We understand the decision was not taken without serious consideration of what would be best for the future of professional basketball across the UK.

“Furthermore, the BBL club owners will now begin the task of co-operating with the BBF to ensure there is a topflight men’s professional league operating from September 2024 and to assist British Basketball and its stakeholders in the rebuilding and strengthening of the position for our sport.”

The Caledonian Gladiators’ statement omitted any references to accepting the decision in good faith and cooperating with the BBF.

The three sides not to release statements are all those more affected by the league’s crisis, namely the London Lions (owned by 777 Partners), as well as the Manchester Giants, and Plymouth Patriots (both of whom the league had taken control of after financial issues).

In May, 777 managing partners Josh Wander and Steven Pasko, the former of whom is listed in Companies House as having significant control of the British Basketball League, stepped back from their roles at the firm amid growing financial struggles.

Wander and Pasko were previously removed from the board of the investment fund’s soccer division after 777 hired the advisory services firm B. Riley to aid in an operational restructuring after several high-profile setbacks landed 777 in hot water.

In recent months, 777’s Australian budget airline Bonza collapsed and court proceedings were brought against the firm in the US after a pair of investment funds claimed 777 and Wander owed them millions of dollars in damages.

This is after 777 pledged over $350 million in assets it allegedly knew it did not have or did not own as collateral for a loan it received.

777 has been named in 17 lawsuits in total with the Leadenhall suit claiming Wander and Pasko are “operating a giant shell game at best, and an outright Ponzi scheme at worst.”

It also describes 777 as a “house of cards on the brink of collapse.”

That house of cards now seems to be collapsing, as earlier in May two of 777’s owned soccer teams, Belgium’s Standard Liege and Brazil’s Vasco da Gama, were seized by their respective governments over issues related to the non-payment of debts (Standard), as well as the ongoing US fraud case (Vasco).

The most high-profile example of 777's financial issues is likely their failed takeover of English Premier League soccer side Everton, with the group now out of that particular picture after originally agreeing a deal last September – only to fail to provide the Premier League with adequate proof of funding. An exclusivity period expired at the beginning of June, realistically spelling the end of 777's acquisition hopes.