We’ve waited since Friday when the supposed deadline for the Gold Coast Blaze to satisfy Basketball Australia requirements to compete next season. Today, BA released a statement on the Blaze;
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.
There are two parts to my reaction to this. One is complete and utter dismay that after another deadline came and passed with requirements not, the actions threatened were not taken.
Keep in mind I live on the Gold Coast, so I want the Blaze playing next season as much as anyone. But could anyone begrudge BA for looking at the clock on Friday afternoon seeing it strike 5:00pm, their requirements not meant and begin their preparations for season 2012/13 without the Blaze? Of course not. Disappointed we would be, but shaking our heads at BA we would not.
However, on the other hand BA are giving the Blaze every opportunity to live, and that’s great. The league needs a team in south Queensland. I know some people say the Blaze weren’t well supported, yet the only evidence of that is we saw only 3,500 people to a semi-final. Alas they conveniently forget that semi-final was on a Wednesday night!
But why did we have to go through all of this with false deadlines one after the other? Why did we have to set a deadline on Friday, stress that there would be no extensions and then find ourselves in this position?
Having a club fold would be terrible for the league. That’s granted. But has the handling of this been any better? What credibility would the league have if it gave extension after extension and we possibly still lose the club anyway?
Players, staff, fans of the club have been in limbo for months. It was time for someone to make a definitive, yet excruciating decision.
Yes, the players can make their own decision. They can take action and sign elsewhere. But when they want to stay on the Gold Coast, and are told there is hope, why would they go to the effort of relocating themselves, their families and then find the Blaze alive and well next season?
If the Blaze come good in 14 days time, that’s great for the league. But the way this has been handled in such a secretive manner can’t be undone now.