Taskforce to be created to address COVID-19's impact on Australian basketball

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Leaders across the Australian basketball community have come together to create a taskforce that will collaboratively address COVID-19's impact on the sport.

The group will be led by Basketball Australia Chairman, Net Coten, and the NBL's owner and Executive Chairman, Larry Kestelman, with the sport's governing body and primary domestic league joining forces with the WNBL, NBL1, state associations, clubs, and players amid the pandemic.

Among the key members of the basketball community included in the task force are Allan Yates, Nicola Ellis, Tony Hallam, Jacob Holmes, Brian Delaney, and Jerril Rechter, while independent business figures - Ruffy Geminder, Diane Smith-Gander, and Rickard Gardell - have also been brought on to assist in the plan to restart the sport when the effects of COVID-19 subside.

"We are very mindful of the millions of Australians doing it tough and, quite rightly, they are the number one priority support right now, particularly those who have lost their jobs and are suffering financial hardship," Coten said in a statement. "Basketball is not immune to the impact of the COVID-19 and, like the rest of the community, we need to do everything we can to get through these challenging times but also work together to restart the sport when the time is right.

He continued: "The game employs tens of thousands of people across the country and generates significant economic impact as well as a range of health and social benefits for the wider community across both genders and all ages that will be needed more than ever as we recover."

The pandemic has already had a tangible effect on the NBL, with the league, teams, and its players agreeing last week on a series of measures that will see salary cuts for the 2020-21 season.

Multiple high-level players - including the Perth Wildcats' Bryce Cotton and Sydney Kings' Casper Ware - are putting consideration into opting out of their respective contracts because of the cost-cutting measures, sources told ESPN, and Kestelman intimated that the league would welcome government funding.

"Unlike other sports, basketball leagues do not derive the bulk of their revenue from broadcast agreements," Kestelman said. "With a significant amount of Australian homes now having a basketball hoop in the backyard, the sport can play a crucial role in getting the country active and back to normal, but we need help more than ever...

"Unlike other codes, basketball cannot fall back on revenue from television if restrictions are still in place to crowds and would need assistance. We are not seeking special priority but rather simply asking not to be forgotten to ensure we can continue to deliver the sport that we and so many Australians love."