Sheffield Hatters have withdrawn from the WBBL due to financial restraints, it has been confirmed in a statement today.
The most successful club in women’s basketball history in the UK, the Hatters were unable to raise funds needed having been hit hard by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2019-20 WBBL season was cut short having been cancelled in March and now plans to go ahead with 11 clubs for the upcoming campaign as Sheffield ‘remain hopeful of rejoining in 2021-22’
Sheffield’s club statement was as follows:
“Sadly, despite our best efforts, we have been unable to secure the funding we were aiming for to secure the Hatters’ future in the WBBL.
Therefore, it is with deep sadness, we have this morning informed the league that we have to withdraw from the league effective immediately.
We are deeply grateful to everyone who worked tirelessly to secure the club’s future, especially during such a turbulent time.
Whilst we will not be participating in the WBBL for the 2020-21 season, we remain hopeful to re-join the league for the 2021-22 season.
We would like to thank the league for their continued support, and we wish them and all the remaining teams in the WBBL a successful and exciting season.”
A WBBL spokesperson added: “We are saddened by the withdrawal of Sheffield Hatters but given the current climate, we understand and appreciate the difficulties the club has experienced over the past few months.
“Our thoughts are with the club’s players, staff, supporters, and dedicated volunteers, all of whom worked endlessly to see the club continue.
“The loss of Sheffield Hatters will be one felt across the basketball community. The oldest and most successful team in women’s basketball, their accomplishments speak for themselves and they should be incredibly proud of the foundation they have built for women’s basketball over the past 60 years.
“We sincerely hope they’ll be able to re-join the league for the 2021-22 season.
“The WBBL will be progressing with 11 teams for the 2020-21 season, which we hope to have details on in the very near future.”
— helen naylor (@helennay9) September 14, 2020
Really sad to hear this!
My favourite game of the season and one of the longest standing, most successful women’s club 💔
Looking forward to seeing you back next year 💪🏻 https://t.co/hN0kqBDChY
— Siobhan Prior #4 ⛹🏻♀️🕊 (@SiobhanPrior_4) September 15, 2020