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Page last updated at 09:43 GMT, Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Raiders given European approval

Plymouth Raiders
The Fiba commissioner was impressed by the Raiders' set-up

Plymouth Raiders have been given the go-ahead to play European basketball at the Pavilions if they qualify.

A commissioner from the sport's governing body Fiba visited Plymouth at the weekend to see the Raiders' matches against Guildford and Leicester.

The venue, with a capacity of just under 1,500, is below the 2,000 minimum needed to stage European basketball.

But the club say that the atmosphere generated by the fans at the Pavilions matches many larger venues in Europe.

"These discussions covered every angle of the club's operating procedures, and I'm delighted to say that he was impressed with the professionalism and organisational capacity at Raiders," said vice-chairman Damon Lenszner.

We will sit with Gary and formulate a budget for next season that will include European competition. Once this is finalised, we will open discussions with all of our sponsors before deciding whether this is the path that we will take

Plymouth Raiders vice-chairman Damon Lenszner

"He has left Plymouth fully satisfied that Plymouth Raiders will be able to conform to the comprehensive regulations regarding entry to European competition," he added.

The club will need to invest in new playing infrastructure before they are able to make the jump into European competition.

"Investment would be needed to upgrade the playing surface, the baskets and to add an additional scoreboard. We have committed the funds necessary to meeting these requirements," said chief executive Dave Briggs.

The club would need to win the BBL Championship or Trophy in order to make it through to Europe. There they would play in Fiba's Eurochallenge competition, basketball's equivalent to football's Uefa Cup.

"We also have to guarantee that we have the finances in place, not only to fund the additional travel expenditure, but to also ensure that Gary has a significantly increased budget to cover the enlarged squad that will be needed to make Raiders competitive not only domestically, but in Europe too," Lenszner said.

Plymouth Raiders
The Raiders' playing budget will be increased if they go into Europe

"We will sit with Gary and formulate a budget for next season that will include European competition. Once this is finalised, we will open discussions with all of our sponsors before deciding whether this is the path that we will take," he added.

Amongst the regulations that the club has to adhere to are relationships with local hotels, transport companies and TV production companies, as well as regulations on the design of kit and tickets.

"The Commissioner has asked that a delegation from the club accompanies him to a European match in the next six weeks," added Briggs.

"This is in order for us to recognise and understand the operational procedures on a European game night. All parties agreed that this was essential for us to fully appreciate the scale of what entry to a European competition fully entails."

see also
Raiders get back to winning ways
27 Oct 08 |  Basketball
Raiders vs Guildford Heat photos
27 Oct 08 |  Basketball
Raiders ready for Euro inspection
22 Oct 08 |  Basketball
Raiders go down to Eagles defeat
20 Oct 08 |  Basketball
Tigers defeat Raiders to stay top
18 Oct 08 |  Basketball
Raiders ready for double header
15 Oct 08 |  Basketball


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