“We are aware of some comments that have been issued directly to the media by the Adelaide 36ers raising concerns about the delay in revealing the shape of the new competition and the new league’s financial criteria,” said Derwin. “Unfortunately, these comments relate to issues previously agreed to in many meetings with team owners and were not previously tabled directly to BA. This sort of public airing of grievances is exactly the kind of negative behaviour Basketball needs to eliminate from our sport as was discussed openly at the recent summit, which this particular team chose not to be represented at. “There is no doubt that we would have hoped to have unveiled the new competition by now,” Derwin added. “One of the most serious delays in the process however has in fact been caused by the number of non-compliant bids we have received that has required significant clarification and negotiation to maintain the integrity and viability of the outcome – a competitive, national and financially stable elite men’s competition.
“Comments yesterday called the financial criteria being applied as part of our Expression of Interest process for the new league ‘inappropriate and unwarranted’. This stance is out of touch with the reality that the league found itself in throughout the 2008/09 season, when two clubs collapsed mid-season and three others either went under or pulled out of the competition prior to tip-off. The full criteria as outlined in the EOI was the subject of intensive consultation with all teams including the 36ers and the owners group signed off on it prior to the EOI process commencing. Moreover, it was this very process of consultation which delayed the issue of the EOI documentation in the first instance.
“The financial criteria for the new league was established with full input from all our teams. The guarantee was actually adjusted down as a result of this consultation from the $1.5 million originally recommended by the independent review of our sport to $1 million in order to ensure it was fair and achievable whilst still serving its intended purpose. Any further reduction would however ultimately render it as an ineffective measure for providing a level of financial stability for the new league. The other issue that has been inappropriately raised in a public forum is the status of negotiation of this criterion with respective clubs. The Board of BA has provided an alternative financial viability option available to all groups bidding for licenses whereby a non-bank guarantee will be accepted only if that non-bank guarantee is backed by proof of $50m of net tangible assets. Either way the primacy of the financial assurance is maintained.
“If any ownership group is unable to meet the new financial criteria, then there are clearly serious questions around the long-term viability of that team. Basketball simply cannot afford to allow clubs that are not rock solid financially into the new league and it’s the responsibility of those who wish to earn a license in the new competition to meet the new standards that have been set.”