The Wollongong Hawks have announced that they will not be seeking a place in the re-vamped national competition in 2009.
Hawks chairman Richard Clifford announced the decision on Tuesday, saying the club’s ownership group had reluctantly come to the conclusion that it could not meet or come anywhere near the financial criteria for the new competition.
“We are very disappointed that a great era in Wollongong’s sporting history is coming to an end,” Clifford said. “The Hawks were one of the foundation clubs when the national league started in 1979, and are the only club to have competed for all 31 seasons.”
On 23 January Basketball Australia released the financial criteria for teams wishing to play in the new national league, which will commence operation in October 2009.
The new criteria set out specific minimum compliance in terms of working capital and financial guarantees, which are aimed at ensuring a stable and sustainable league in the future. Expressions of Interest in the new national league close on 27 February.
“It is disappointing that the current Hawks ownership will not submit a response to the Expression of Interest despite the option to submit a non-compliant bid to table their position,” said Basketball Australia Chief Executive Scott Derwin.
“The EOI criteria had been unanimously agreed by the clubs prior to release and establish the benchmarks to ensure a commercially viable, robust and competitive new league.”
Derwin said that despite the Hawks’ decision not to apply to be part of the new league, there was still strong interest from other parties.
“While BA cannot explicitly comment on the details of the EOI process, there has been significant interest in applying for licences in the new league,” he said.
Clifford appealed to Hawks supporters to come out in force and support the team it its final home games on February 6 (New Zealand Breakers) and February 13 (Adelaide 36ers).
“It would be great to get close to full houses for those final home games, to send the team out in style,” he said. “Our coaching staff, led by Eric Cooks, and the team have worked really hard all year and deserve a good send-off.”
By NBL Media