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Crusaders Stay Down But Join New Elite

Coventry Crusaders boss Dip Donaldson has admitted that his team have a small chance of getting into the top basketball league in the country.

But the team, which has recently moved to the SkyDome arena will instead take its place in a new league of six teams formed out of their current National Basketball League Division One.

They will join Teesside, Solent, Sutton, Worthing and Plymouth in the new structure next season, which starts in September.

All the teams will play each other four times, twice at home and twice away.

The league, which will be called the Elite League, will play cup competitions against the lower Division One of nine teams, which includes Birmingham.

Promotion and relegation based on merit will be introduced, and the most successful teams will be able to play in European competition.

At the moment clubs in the Dairylea Dunkers league do not compete on the continent because the match schedule doesn't allow for it.

Crusaders' boss Dip Donaldson said he thought some teams could drop down from the Dairylea Dunkers to take part in the new challenge.

But he ruled out the Crusaders moving in the opposite direction.

Donaldson said:

"I don't think I can get the funding. I will try and present a financial package, but I don't think we will get there."

He added that the new league would represent a big task for the Crusaders. Last season they finished seventh in their division - and bottom out of the teams taking their place in the new contest.

Donaldson said:

"You have to reach a certain level. We had a dreadful season and we need to do better."

He added that he was still looking to fill the two slots open to foreign players, and confirmed that they would form the nucleus of next years' team.
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CWN / Sport / Basketball / Coventry Crusaders / 22 May 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM