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Star chief McCotter wants 2021 start to league after postponement

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Star men Sean Quinn, Conor Johnston and new signing Jonny Foulds will have to wait to start defence of their title

Star men Sean Quinn, Conor Johnston and new signing Jonny Foulds will have to wait to start defence of their title

Star men Sean Quinn, Conor Johnston and new signing Jonny Foulds will have to wait to start defence of their title

Belfast Star chairman Bill McCotter has called for the All-Ireland Superleague to start in January, following last night's shock decision to pull the plug on this weekend's start of the new season.

Basketball Ireland came to the decision to put the start of the new season on hold after being informed by the Sport Expert Group and Sport Ireland that the new Covid restrictions in the Republic of Ireland meant no national competitions could go ahead.

In a statement, Basketball Ireland CEO Bernard O'Byrne said: "While naturally disappointed that we can't start our season, we fully understand the decision made by the Sport Expert Group, in light of the latest government restrictions. We are still awaiting the detail of the decision, but we will now work together with Sport Ireland and our National League clubs over the coming days to make a plan for the 2020-21 season."

Reigning All-Ireland Superleague champions Star had already had their first three games postponed before last night's announcement due to the impact of Covid and chairman McCotter admitted he was "relieved" that the Superleague would not be starting this weekend.

A member of the National Competitions Committee, McCotter believes that the Superleague must now take stock of the situation and plan accordingly, in light of the spike in the virus across the island.

"I have always felt and made it clear that we would be far better starting in January. That is still my feeling. We will hopefully see this virus reduce and give us the chance of having a season without interruption, running to around April time," said McCotter.

"I know that the clubs have already spent a lot of money getting ready for the league and that includes my own club but we have to be realistic about the current situation and the pressures clubs are facing."

McCotter also revealed that despite the sport being semi-professional, the Superleague clubs have received no government funding to help with the extensive protocols needed to play games in the current climate.

It was also significant that only a handful of Superleague clubs signed up to the new streaming service put forward by Basketball Ireland due to games having to be played behind closed doors. Again, that would involve a further cost that clubs would find very hard to finance.

Belfast Telegraph