The Dominion Post

Rangers banished from NBL

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The Super City Rangers are no longer part of New Zealand’s National Basketball League.

NBL general manager Justin Nelson yesterday said following a recent review into the Auckland franchise that due to a material breach under the Participat­ion Agreement, the franchise was terminated and would no longer participat­e in the NBL.

‘‘During the league’s recent review of the team and its operations, the Rangers were found to have breached a number of rules under the Participat­ion Agreement,’’ he said.

‘‘The most material breach was the Super City Rangers not being financial with the NBL, with outstandin­g debts owed to the league, including the full annual fees for the recently completed 2019 season. This was the catalyst for the terminatio­n.

‘‘The Rangers had one year remaining on its Participat­ion Agreement, which has now been terminated.’’

Rangers imports Tim Quarterman, Nnanna Egwu and Venky Jois claimed they were owed money by the club after being released early when it became apparent they were no chance of making the NBL’s finals. Their agent lambasted the Auckland outfit for their treatment of his players.

The Rangers, who finished 3-15, refuted the allegation­s and counter-claimed by saying they were owed money by one of the since-departed players.

‘‘The review uncovered a number of breaches that has led to this terminatio­n, not least of which is a large debt owed to the league,’’ Nelson said.

‘‘Unfortunat­ely the Rangers have missed every deadline issued for payments owed to the league and have made no proactive moves to settle this debt.

‘‘We are aware of other debts, but these are up to the Rangers to deal with and we hope they will.’’

Nelson stressed the decision to terminate the Rangers was based on material breaches of the Participat­ion Agreement, however a number of other factors were considered based on the overall performanc­e of the organisati­on.

‘‘Non-payment of fees is a material breach and has led to the terminatio­n, however we were equally concerned about the franchise not performing to the level expected to participat­e in the league,’’ said Nelson, adding ‘‘this extends to performanc­e both on and off the court’’.

Rangers coach Jeff Green last week told Stuff he believed the club would be exonerated by the league’s investigat­ion. He acknowledg­ed the decision to release the imports prematurel­y was ‘‘not a good look’’ but was standard procedure for teams with tight budgets.

Asked if the Rangers, who had another year on their licence, should be in the league next year, Green said it was hard to make the case for their inclusion.

‘‘I don’t believe they will be in the league next year. I hope they will, but unless there’s someone who wants to write cheques, there’s just no support.’’

With the terminatio­n of the Rangers now finalised, the NBL will begin planning for a nineteam league in season 2020, which may expand to 10 teams in 2021 if the Franklin Bulls from South Auckland finalise certain criteria.

The Otago Nuggets have been granted provisiona­l entry for 2020 pending some final hurdles, which the league hopes will be finalised tomorrow. If not, the Nuggets will build towards a 2021 entry.

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