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Last Updated: Monday, 11 August, 2003, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
Leopards pull out
Mike Taylor coached the Leopards last season
Coach Mike Taylor left the Leopards last month
The Essex Leopards will not be competing in the upcoming British Basketball League campaign after an unsuccessful search for a new buyer.

Owners Ed Simons and Annie-T Simons have been looking for the past few months for a buyer to continue the franchise.

"I had hoped until very recently that a buyer had been found, but after communications with the BBL, the proposed buyer felt that the financial obligations were too onerous and therefore decided not to proceed," said Ed Simons.

"Having spent nine years running this franchise, it is with a great deal of sadness that Annie-T and I have decided not to have a competing team.

"We are grateful to all the players who have played for us, the fans who have supported us and the Leopards Basketball administration who have served this club so admirably," he said.

The BBL franchise committee has agreed that the franchise can be withdrawn from competition for a period of up to two years to allow for a buyer to be sought.

The Leopards are the third BBL club to withdrawn from the league after Manchester Giants and Derby Storm both folded during the past two seasons.

Last season, the Leopards finished second from bottom in the table.



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