Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question about the WBBL and British basketball as a whole? The most frequently asked questions are answered here, so chances are you can find what your looking for in this section.

Below is list of questions – from who and what the WBBL is to issues of rules and how to become a player. However, if you still can’t find the answer to your question please feel free to email us at mail@bbl.org.uk or call us on 0116 266 3339.

WHAT IS THE WBBL?

The WBBL – Women’s British Basketball League – is owned by its member clubs. Each club has a representative on the WBBL Board of Directors, thus is a part of all decision-making. The BBL supports the WBBL by providing a central WBBL office, from which league-wide administration, marketing and media is undertaken, although the clubs are spread across the country.

WHO ARE THE WBBL MEMBER CLUBS?

The WBBL clubs are spread far and wide throughout the UK. Each WBBL club – or franchise as it is known – operates in it’s own distinct area and there is only one club per franchise area. This allows each club to maximise it’s commercial and media value within their local community.

The current WBBL franchises are as follows:

BA London Lions
Caledonia Pride
Cardiff Met Archers
Durham Palatinates
Essex Rebels
Leicester Riders
Manchester Mystics
Newcastle Eagles
Nottingham Wildcats
Oaklands Wolves
Sevenoaks Suns
Sheffield Hatters

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WBBL & BE?

The WBBL is the premier women’s league in the UK and runs separately to the BE – Basketball England – which is the next tier down. BE consists of several divisions of both men’s and women’s basketball. BE – both men’s and women’s divisions – come under the umbrella of the national federation Basketball England who also have responsibility for for coaching and officiating development and for general club development.

WHY IS THERE NO PROMOTION/RELEGATION FROM WBBL?

Firstly, the WBBL is based on franchises, similar to the US system in sport. There is no promotion and relegation between the WBBL and BE andBE clubs cannot join the WBBL based on their performances in official competition alone. However, BE clubs and any other organisations can apply for a franchise from WBBL.

The franchise system is used because of the significant difference in cost/administration of running a team in the WBBL to running any other team in the UK. The franchise system tries to provide financial security and protect investment into clubs by removing the threat that comes with relegation/competition within the franchise area.

The sports franchise concept is becoming more understood in the UK and there are those who feel that it could well be the way forward for sports such as football, particularly in the Premiership in the future.

Meanwhile, the Women’s BE consists of several divisions (BE Division One being the top level), which works on the principle of having promotion and relegation between the divisions.

HOW DO CLUBS JOIN THE WBBL?

By applying to the WBBL Franchise Committee (franchises@bbl.org.uk) with a detailed business plan. For any application to be successful, venue details, proof of an acceptable level of financial backing, plus a sound business plan would be required, thus showing that the franchise was likely to be a sustainable enterprise. The business plan must cover a certain period of time, thus demonstrating the long ­term potential of the business.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT WBBL COMPETITIONS PLAYED?

The primary competition is the WBBL Championship, in which all WBBL teams play each other twice over the course of the season. Two points are awarded for a win, but no points for a defeat and all games must result in an outright winner (ie. five-minute periods of overtime are played if the game is tied until a winner is found).

At the end of the regular season the top eight teams in the WBBL Championship progress to the post-season to play in the WBBL Play-offs. Unlike other European leagues and the NBA, the WBBL Championship is considered the primary competition and its winner the number one team that season. This is because of the length of the regular season and the number of games played during it, compared with the restricted number of play-off games in WBBL.

There are three knock-out competitions that run alongside the WBBL Championship. One is the WBBL Cup, in which the WBBL clubs take part in a straight knockout competition culminating in the WBBL Cup Final, the other is the WBBL Trophy, where the 12 teams are spilt geographically into four groups. The top two from each group then advance into the knockout stages and then onto the WBBL Trophy Final. Finally there is the WBBL Play-Offs, where the top 8 teams in the WBBL Championship play in a knockout tournament for a place at the WBBL Play-Off Final.

For more information regarding WBBL Competitions please visit the Competitions section of the WBBL Website.

HOW CAN I GET TO A GAME?

For regular season WBBL Championship games, as well as the early rounds of the WBBL Cup, WBBL Trophy and WBBL Play-offs, tickets are available from the home club. Details of travelling directions, ticket prices and how to contact the club are available from this website.

For centrally staged events (ie. major finals), tickets are available from the venues box office.

For further information and tickets for any club or WBBL Final event, please visit the tickets section of this website.

HOW CAN I GET TO PLAY FOR A BBL CLUB?

Players are usually recruited by the Head Coach from each team either via external recruitment or via promotion from the club’s development programme. The league does not hold league-wide tryouts so, in the first instance, players are invited to submit their CV/Resume to clubs directly. The contact details for each of the 12 WBBL clubs are as follows:

Barking Abbey Crusaders – mail@abbeybasketball.com
Caledonia Pride – bart.sengers@basketball-scotland.com
Cardiff Met Archers – stefcollins@gmail.com
Durham Palatinates – l.p.davie@durham.ac.uk
Essex Rebels – sdaviec@essex.ac.uk
Leicester Riders – info@leicesterriders.co.uk
Newcastle Eagles – chris.bunten@northumbria.ac.uk
Manchester Mystics – J.Jones@eastlandstrust.org
Nottingham Wildcats – info@nottinghambasketball.co.uk
Oaklands Wolves – lee.ryan@oaklands.ac.uk
Sevenoaks Suns – lenbusch@aol.com
Sheffield Hatters – betty-hatters@hotmail.co.uk

All non-EU (European Union) players without the right to work in the UK need a work permit and will have to meet the criteria set down by the UK Government. If you do require a work permit to work in the UK and don’t meet the criteria set down to receive a Governing Body Endorsement then unfortunately you won’t be able to play in the WBBL – regardless of how good you are.

If you meet the criteria, should a WBBL club wish to sign you then the club will handle the entire work permit application process (including Governing Body Endorsement) prior to your arrival in the UK ie you do not need to make any application yourself prior to finding a club.

Reasons for Non EU players not requiring a work permit can include, marriage to a British or EEA citizen, Commonwealth citizenship with British heritage (ie British grandparent) etc. Please establish whether you are entitled to this status prior to submitting your CV.

I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO PLAY FOR A WBBL TEAM BUT WANT TO PLAY AT A LOWER LEVEL. WHERE CAN I FIND DETAILS OF MY NEAREST TEAM?

All WBBL Clubs run lower level teams so contact your local club for more information. Alternatively you can find your local registered club via the following links:

Basketball England: https://www.basketballengland.co.uk/court-finder/

Basketball Scotland: http://basketballscotland.co.uk/club-page/