NBL Owner and Executive Chairman Larry Kestelman says the league is going “absolutely full steam ahead” to stage the 2020-21 season.
The COVID-19 pandemic has stopped the sporting world, raising questions on what NBL21 will look like.
But Kestelman told SEN’s Dwayne World: “We’re absolutely full steam ahead to get a season up and running.
“I think for everyone the last four to six weeks feels like a big blur. We’re slowly coming out of the haze and absolutely starting to plan for what’s possible, what’s not and different contingency plans.
“It would be a great effort to start in October but at the same time we are making contingency plans if we can’t.
“The good thing we have going for us is time. We’ve got a little bit more time than some of the other leagues have. Even if the season can’t start on time in early October, I think we can be flexible with times.”
Kestelman said NBL would like to have fans in venues. “We will do everything in our power to make the season happen with fans. That’s ultimately what we want, that’s how clubs derive most of their income, that’s what the lifeblood of this sport is.
“We want to do everything we can to play in front of crowds. If we have to start our season without crowds, not an ideal situation, but we can do that as well. We have a lot of options and we want to take our time and make the right decision for us.
“Having other sports in a crowed landscape is a consideration but for us the number one goal is getting fans back into venues. That is the number one goal and we will have to wait and see when that is possible.
“We have every chance of being one of the first sports back with crowds, so that will be a fantastic day when we can have a crowd back watching basketball.
“It would take us about three months to start up our season so we will look to make those decisions by about the middle of the year. We don’t need to make any decisions over the next couple of months.
“Time is on our side. We have got a deal with the players, who have been fantastic, our owners are totally committed.
“The owners of the clubs are smart successful businesspeople that love the sport and are committed to the sport. We have their full support in making the right decisions on when to bring it back and how to bring it back.”
When asked if the start of the season could be pushed back to January 2021, Kestelman said: “It is possible, but we are certainly hopeful of starting it before then (January-February-March), but what we have to do is keep assessing and keep talking to the medical professionals on what is possible and what is allowed when.
“It is possible for us to potentially delay it as far as that but it’s far too early for us to make that call.
H“We are certainly hopeful of starting well before then but it’s a daily occurrence and I think the government has done an amazing job to bring the numbers down and if that trend continues, who knows, we might be able to start on time or not too far behind it.”