On Friday the administration of the Gold Coast Blaze made a proposal to Basketball Australia regarding their continuing presence in the National Basketball League. BA accepted the proposed structure provided by the Blaze as a positive start, but require further information in order to endorse their participation in the 2012/13 NBL season. 

Financial hardship struck the Blaze this off-season, causing the club to ultimately go into voluntary administration. Since that time, they have endeavoured to secure financial backers to get the franchise back into a position where they can sign players for next season and continue in the NBL. 

Some players, such as James Harvey and Jason Cadee have already jumped ship to other clubs, whilst Australian Boomer Mark Worthington has stated that it is likely that he will play in Europe next season. If the franchise’s administration does manage to get things back off the ground, they will likely be operating with a vastly less powerful lineup than they have had in recent seasons.

One major positive from the proposed restructure involves a grassroots model which brings the club closer to their local association. The more NBL clubs can foster ties with local associations, the better the long-term stability of the league will be.

The NBL/BA statement on the Blaze follows:

On Friday 13 July 2012, the ownership of the Gold Coast Blaze outlined to Basketball Australia a proposal for the club’s participation in the 2012/13 iiNet National Basketball League Championship.

That proposal involves a ‘partnership’ with the Gold Coast Basketball Association – building on similar initiatives used by the Cairns Taipans and the Wollongong Hawks.

The BA Board has taken the time to thoroughly examine the proposal, taking into account the integrity of the NBL competition, the welfare of the players, and the future sustainability of the Blaze.

Acting Chief Executive Officer Scott Derwin today said: “First and foremost, the BA Board is grateful for the enormous amount of work the club’s owners have put into trying to keep the Blaze alive in difficult circumstances.

“The Board of BA particularly welcomes the move towards a community partnership model. The Board also acknowledges that the new proposal contains significant and necessary cost savings.

“This proposal is a good start which BA supports in principle – but the reality is it needs to be fleshed out further.

“Ultimately, BA has a responsibility to the league and the broader basketball community to insist the Blaze moves forward with a viable and sustainable business model.

“That is why the Board has asked the owners of the Blaze to provide further detailed information before the club’s participation in the 2012/13 season can be approved.”

The club’s owners have been asked to confirm the following by 31 July 2012:

– Irrefutable evidence that the club is able to put in place the current NBL required bank guarantee of $1 million;

– Detailed confirmation of major funding sources, as well as evidence of the working capital requirements of $500,000; and

– Absolute and unconditional assurance that the debt outstanding to BA will be paid no later than 31st August 2012.

These licensing requirements are consistent with those previously put to the owners of the Blaze by Basketball Australia.

Further, should the Blaze receive approval from the Board to participate in the 2012/13 season, the Board will require the club to submit detailed monthly financial reports.