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Lions-Towers to be replayed


The unprecedented scenes at Crystal Palace when the BBL Trophy encounter between London Towers and Milton Keynes Lions was abandonned in an apparent dispute over player licensing have resulted in the blame going on the match official, while censuring the Lions for their action.

The England Basketball license of Lions forward Robert Youngblood was not available before the game, a requirement under national regulations.

However Milton Keynes management accused lead referee Keith Williams of acting improperly when he did not permit Youngblood to take the court.

In a statement, the league stated that Williams failed to: 
- apply the correct rules regarding the participation of Milton Keynes' Robert Youngblood in the match
- make reasonable efforts to clarify the position with the BBL, despite the intervention of both participating clubs
- apply the fundamental principle for all games of basketball - that the game should go ahead, with disputes referred afterwards to the authorities

BBL has referred Mr Williams' actions to England Basketball, who have jurisdiction over match officials, and who will consider whether there is a case for disciplinary action.

While noting the above as the primary reason for the abandonment, tMilton Keynes is also censured for refusing to apply the same fundamental principle, that the game should always go ahead with disputes resolved at a later date.

In a scenario never before seen in the BBL, Nigel Lloyd's side refused to tip off and in their absence, officials allowed the Towers to jump ball and score two points before the game was called off with the hosts gaining a nominal 2-0 win.

The move will embarrass the BBL in the wake of their decision to dispense with the use of sanctioned and neutral Commissioners at matches this term, a move widely seen as a cost-cutting exercise.


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