Basketball: Clubs accused of abusing salary cap: League reads riot act

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The Independent Online
THE Budweiser League champions, Thames Valley Tigers, London Leopards and London Towers are all forced to leave players out of their line- ups on this opening weekend of the season, due to problems with the salary cap, work permits and licences.

The Basketball League chief executive, Mike Smith, claimed all three have exceeded the salary cap, which is set at pounds 69,000 per club, although many exceed this ceiling by allocating a portion of players' salaries for work in development or administration.

Tigers, as England's representatives in the European Clubs' Championship, are allowed to exceed the Total Salary Level as long as they omit at least one player from each domestic game. They believed they were under the cap, but for tonight's difficult fixture at Derby, Tigers' coach Mick Bett has been ordered to omit one player from Tony Holley, Hal Henderson, Michael Hayles and Steve Nelson.

Leopards and Towers, though, will have to either cut their salary bill or release players unless, like Tigers, they successfully challenge Smith's ruling early next week. Leopards and Towers come under the cap this weekend only because players have been ruled ineligible for other reasons.

Kenny Scott cannot play for Towers at Hemel tonight or against Sunderland tomorrow because his international clearance has not been received from France, where he played last season.

Leopards, a new franchise, have not received work permits for their two Americans, Henri Abrahams and Robert Youngblood, and come under the cap by leaving them out for the trip to Doncaster tomorrow.