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Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question about the BBL 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 BBL 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 BBL?

The BBL – British Basketball League – is an independent company owned by its member clubs, which runs the top men’s professional league in the UK. Each club has an equal shareholding in BBL and has a representative on the BBL Board of Directors, thus is a part of all decision-making.

There is a central BBL office, from which league-wide administration, marketing and media is undertaken, although the clubs are spread across the country.

Who are the BBL member clubs?

The BBL clubs are spread far and wide throughout the UK, from as far south as Plymouth to as far north as Glasgow.

Each BBL 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 its commercial and media value within their local community.

The current BBL franchises are as follows:

Bristol Flyers
Cheshire Phoenix
Glasgow Rocks
Leicester Riders
London Lions
Manchester Giants
Newcastle Eagles
Plymouth City Patriots
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks
Surrey Scorchers

What is the difference between BBL and NBL?

The BBL is the only fully professional league in the UK and runs separately to the NBL – National Basketball League – which is the next tier down.

NBL consists of several divisions of both men’s and women’s basketball, but there are only few full-time professional players. NBL – 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 BBL?

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

The franchise system is used because of the significant difference in cost/administration of running a team in the BBL 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 Men’s NBL consists of several divisions (NBL Division One being the top level), which works on the principle of having promotion and relegation between the divisions.

How do clubs join the BBL?

By applying to the BBL 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 BBL competitions played?

The primary competition is the BBL Championship, in which all BBL teams play each other three times 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 BBL Championship progress to the post-season to play in the BBL Play-Offs. Unlike other European leagues and the NBA, the BBL 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 BBL.

There are two knock-out competitions that run alongside the BBL Championship. One is the BBL Trophy, in which the BBL clubs are joined by guest clubs in a straight knockout competition culminating in the BBL Trophy Final. There is also the BBL Cup, which is made up of all 11 BBL clubs split into three groups with the bottom teams in each group, after the qualifying stages being eliminated, before progressing onto the knockout stages and then the BBL Cup Final.

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

How can I get to a game?

For regular season BBL Championship games, as well as the early rounds of the BBL Cup, BBL Trophy and BBL 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 venue’s box office.

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

What is the BBL player eligibility criteria?

In the summer of 2020 the BBL Clubs voted to change the player eligibility for BBL Competitions (to take effect in the 2020-21 season) to provide more opportunities to British players.

The new eligibility allows teams to play a maximum of five over-18 non-British players per game, of which a maximum of four can be work permitted. All remaining spots on the team have to be filled by British passport holders.

The criteria replicates a similar model to other European Basketball Leagues, but with greater emphasis on protecting positions for national (British) players, and is a further demonstration of committment by the BBL towards the development of British players.

Other Basketball Leagues examples (as at May 2020):


Minimum of 4 German players if 10 players are registered on the score sheet. One of the 4 players can be a local player. A player is considered as a local player if he played in Germany before U15 for one year or three years from U15 to U19.
5 German players if the team registers 11 players and one of the 5 players can be a local player.
6 German players if the teams registers 12 players on the score sheet and two of the 6 players can be local players.
The rest can be foreigners, regardless of their nationality. There will be no distinction between Americans, Europeans, etc.


Each team can register a maximum of 6 foreign players in the score sheet, with no more than 3 players from outside Europe.


In a 10-player roster, 5 foreigner players, regardless of their nationality, plus 5 home grown players (one of them can be naturalized if he had been enrolled in a professional Italian championship before april 2012). In Italy, home grown player is any player who played in Italian young championships for 4 seasons at least. Every team can also put in the score sheet a bigger number (maximum 12) of home grown players.


Teams competing in ACB competitions must have:
– At least 4 home grown players ( HGP ) in 10, 11 or 12-player rosters
– At least 3 HGP in 8 or 9-player rosters


Each team can register maximum 8 foreign players throughout the entire year, pick 5 in any game score sheet and no more than 4 on the court at any given time (at least one Israeli on the court at any time).

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 BBL club are as follows:

Bristol Flyers – andreas.kapoulas@sgscol.ac.uk
Cheshire Phoenix – proteam@cheshirephoenix.com
Glasgow Rocks – info@glasgowrocks.co.uk
Leicester Riders – info@leicesterriders.co.uk
London Lions – office@thelondonlions.com
Manchester Giants – info@manchestergiants.com
Newcastle Eagles – office@newcastle-eagles.com
Plymouth City Patriots – info@plymouthcitypatriots.com
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks – natasha.montgomery@thesheffieldsharks.com
Surrey Scorchers – info@surreyscorchers.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 BBL – regardless of how good you are.

If you meet the criteria, should a BBL 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 BBL team but want to play at a lower level. Where can I find details of my nearest team?

All BBL 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/