THE weekend news that the MNCC of Basketball Ireland have called time on the Men’s Super League and Division One National League has been met with surprise by their Women’s counterparts.
In a separate meeting the WNCC (Women’s National Competitions Committee) voted to carry on in their efforts to restore the leagues in 2021.
The Women’s clubs feel the MNCC jumped the gun as the UCC Glanmire coach Mark Scannell feels throwing in the towel is not the right way forward.
“The bottom line is that we have players in both leagues that will be representing Ireland in the Small Countries European championships in the summer of 2021 and we need to pursue every avenue to get our sport up and running,” said Mark Scannell.
In the Women’s WNCC meeting the clubs voted unanimously not to follow in the steps of their male counterparts instead opting to try and get to the date of January 16 for a restart of their league if numbers improve in this country.
The mood in the DCU Mercy camp was also one of determination as coach Mark Ingle backed his fellow clubs in trying to get Women’s basketball played this season.
“We have a lot invested to play in the Super League, so I think now is too early to be calling time on our proposed date in January,” said Mark Ingle.
It seems that the Women’s clubs in this country feel basketball was the first sport to call time on their leagues back in March and if there is no action this season players of all ages will not have played a game for 18 months when it recommences in September 2021.
There was a different approach from the Men’s Super League as they decided their cancel their programme.
The following statement was issued from Basketball Ireland.
“Basketball Ireland Men’s National Competitions Committee (MNCC) has decided it has no alternative but to cancel the 2020/21 Super League and Division One league season.
“This decision follows a meeting on Saturday to consider the most recent Covid-19 guidelines from the Irish government but no decision has been made over the 2020/21 Men’s National Cup.
“The MNCC is extremely disappointed that it’s case for commencement of play in the National Leagues on January 9 behind closed doors, with extra rigorous testing in place, has not been considered properly.
“The committee 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.
“As 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 a competition may be possible in February/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.”
Cork clubs Ballincollig and Neptune are naturally disappointed.
For the Ballincollig coach Kieran O’Sullivan it was news he didn’t want to hear but he wasn’t overly surprised.
“We were hoping it would be a nostalgic year for us in our first season competing in the Super League but I think overall there are many kids in this country that will feel very disappointed that they might not play a competitive game this season,” said Kieran O’Sullivan.
The mood from the Neptune camp was also disappointing with club chairman Paul Barrett reflecting on a frustrating year for many people all over the world.
“This virus has certainly done untold damage to our society and although we are bitterly disappointed our goal at Neptune is to get basketball at all levels up and running as young people need sporting activities,” said Paul Barrett.