Basketball Ireland has been vocal in criticism of the uncertainty in which indoor sport has been placed through the pandemic and on Saturday it announced that this year’s Men’s 2020/21 Super League and Division One league season have been cancelled.

The Men’s National Competitions Committee met on Saturday morning after the Government announcement of plans for levels of lockdown through to January 6th. No decision has been made over the 2020/21 Men’s National Cup or other competitions.

Basketball Ireland had made a case for the commencement of play in the National Leagues on January 9th behind closed doors, with extra rigorous testing in place, but said it was “extremely disappointed that this has not been considered properly.”

In a statement issued on Saturday, it said “It is felt that fair play and consultation has not happened and we can only conclude that we are not trusted to act in a safe and responsible manner. We note that many national basketball leagues are taking place throughout Europe with the agreement of the government and health authorities in those countries.”

“Our clubs have commercial commitments as a semi-professional league and cannot be left in uncertainty any longer.”

“We will continue to make the case to the political decision-makers for the playing of elite basketball in 2021. We hope that competition may be possible in February and March, which will give our players and supporters something to look forward to.”

“This is a difficult and disappointing decision to have made but we trust our community understands that we feel it is the only reasonable action to take.”

“Basketball Ireland has been lobbying government, but still have been ignored,” continued Basketball Ireland CEO and chair of the MNCC, Bernard O’Byrne.

“We shall not stop fighting for recognition and answers from the government. The MNCC feel that certainty is needed and we cannot keep our clubs, players, officials and volunteers waiting. We would have loved to start our season on January 9th, but we’ve been left with no choice. Basketball Ireland has been doing its utmost to help our clubs during these difficult times and it shall continue to do so.“

Outdoor sports and elite-level individual training had worked through the Government established Return to Sport Expert Group which contained representatives from sporting bodies and Sport Ireland and which has acted as a bridge between government and the sector.

They had established universal standards of precautions that could be taken to ensure the safe return to play and allowed for underage training to continue even diru=ing the last six weeks of lockdown.

Indoor sport had proven to be much trickier though to persuade public health authorities of its safety measures.


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