Plymouth City Patriots makes statement after new financial loss

Scorchers v Plymouth Patriots -Credit:British Basketball League
Scorchers v Plymouth Patriots -Credit:British Basketball League

Bosses at troubled basketball team Plymouth City Patriots have stressed they have the full financial support of its owners and aim to continue in business despite making losses. The club’s newly published accounts have warned of “material uncertainties” which may cast doubt on its ability to carry on.

But the club has said that despite this, and its “loss-making” status, it continues to be backed by major shareholder The Basketball League Ltd, which has lent it significant sums of money. The Basketball League has been heavily invested in by US sports firm 777 Partners, currently embroiled in a protracted takeover of Everton FC as the Premier League probes its ability to fund the football club.

Patriots’ operating company, PB 2021 Ltd, has recently published financial statements for the year to the end of July 2023 which showed net liabilities of £194,710. The document, filed at Companies House, contained a going concern disclosure which said: “The director has identified material uncertainties related to events or conditions that may cast significant doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern, however, the going concern basis remains appropriate. The company continues to have the administrative and financial support of the majority shareholder, The Basketball League Ltd.”

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In a statement, Patriots told PlymouthLive: “PB 2021 Ltd, the operating company of the Plymouth City Patriots, is currently a loss-making entity that is reliant on the British Basketball League to underwrite any shortfall. As such, the wording used in the financial accounts reflects that position; comfort can be taken from the fact that the entity providing the financial support (the League) is the sole shareholder of PB 2021 Ltd and therefore has a vested interest in providing the said support.”

Patriots finished bottom of the British Basketball League this season, losing their final match 98-92 away at Sheffield Sharks on Saturday. This month an investigation was started by the club after two players failed to board a flight to an away game in Glasgow.

The club’s agreement to play home games at the Pavilions has expired, according to PlymouthLive’s sister publication The Herald, and basketball correspondent Pablo Cheeks wrote: “The Patriots have a long summer of speculation ahead.”

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Meanwhile, the Basketball League Ltd’s accounts for the year to the end of June 2023 have also just been published and showed net liabilities of £1.5m. The accounts showed the company had given Patriots an interest-free loan, with an outstanding balance of £141,000.

The Basketball League’s unaudited financial statements said: “The company has secured a significant investment during this financial year (Project Rebound), via completion of a multi-million pound investment deal. As a result, the company is entering a period of significant investment in order to materially grow the business. As such, the financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis as the company is confident it will continue to trade.”

The league and 777 Partners agreed a £7m investment deal in December 2021. Florida-based 777 Partners managing partner Joshua Wander is listed on Companies House as having “significant control” of The Basketball League Ltd.

This week it was reported that Everton are now looking for new investors in a bid to get the takeover from 777 Partners over the line. The US firm has already loaned the Toffees £186m with another £15m expected this month, and hopes to complete the takeover by the end of May.

The Premier League has been scrutinising 777 Partners’ sources of capital and ability to fund Everton, which is building a new stadium in Liverpool’s Bramley Docks. One Premier League requirement is that 777 Partners repays a £158m loan to a group of investors led by MSP Sports Capital.

There has been speculation that 777 Partners may have cash flow problems and in March the Financial Times reported that its creditors had filed a lawsuit in New York courts.

The American company has been on a sports club buying spree, acquiring football teams including Italy’s Genoa, Germany’s Hertha Berlin, and Vasco da Gama in Brazil.

PlymouthLive has approached the Basketball League about Patriots’ going concern disclosure and whether “material uncertainties” related to 777 Partners’ financial issues, but has not yet had a response.