NBL poised to take over Hawks licence

The NBL is poised to take over running the Illawarra Hawks as ownership of the club is in doubt.
The NBL is poised to take over running the Illawarra Hawks as ownership of the club is in doubt.

The NBL is on stand-by to take over the licence of foundation club the Illawarra Hawks following the reported collapse of Simon Stratford's ownership of the club.

Stratford formerly held a minority share of the club but took full ownership in February 2018 after telecommunications entrepreneur James Spenceley sold his 51 per cent stake.

Stratford's ownership has been on shaky ground since the end of the 2018-19 season when it emerged players and staff had not been paid their full entitlements - chiefly superannuation.

Staff at the club have reportedly been stood down.

NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger announced Tuesday they were committed to the club remaining in the competition.

"The NBL is working closely with key stakeholders to ensure the ongoing viability of foundation club, the Illawarra Hawks," Loeliger said via a statement.

"We are in ongoing discussions with the owners of the Hawks and the Australian Basketball Players' Association (ABPA) and working together with them in what are challenging times for all sport and business right now.

"We are committed to the club remaining in the NBL and the league will step in and operate the licence should a resolution not be found in the short term.

"However, as is the case with many clubs across different sports, staff may be stood down as we work through this period."

Australian Associated Press