FINANCES are to blame for Bundaberg losing its Queensland Basketball League licences for next year, Basketball Queensland has revealed.
The state's peak basketball body's comments are at odds with an announcement on Monday by this year's Bundaberg QBL committee that the Bears and Bulls had been eliminated because of a lack of junior players.
The revelations paints a grim picture of what was happening behind the scenes at Bundaberg Basketball.
BQ chief executive Graham Burns told the NewsMail on Tuesday that the association was in trouble financially.
"It's just rubbish in relation to juniors,” Burns said.
"It is a purely financial reason (why Bundaberg is out),” he said.
"In 2015 and 2016 they didn't pay their QBL fees in full to us.”
After holding a meeting with the new committee members last Thursday, Burns said they had no other choice but to cut Bundy loose.
"The alarm bells started in late 2015 when they didn't pay,” he said.
"We gave them as much latitude as possible to ensure they stay.”
"Unfortunately sponsorship didn't meet their expectations and we were left with no choice.”
Without revealing exactly how much Basketball Bundaberg owed them, Burns said the debt also included expenses not related to the QBL program.
But Burns said all hope of the Rum City getting back into the state's premier competition was not lost either.
"If they can demonstrate financial stability and clear their debts we would welcome back with open arms,” he said.
"The need to resolve their future as their debts are significant for us to say they can't be in the competition.”
New committee member Darren Mortensen said Bundaberg Basketball was not in a strong position financially and its juniors organisation was struggling.
"It's a cash flow thing for us at the moment,” he said.
"The QBL is a major expense and we didn't meet the requirements to play next season.”
Bundy's out of the QBL for the first time since the 1998 season and Mortensen said it may take them a couple of years to get back as the focus now needed to beon junior development.
"I can't give a definite answer on whether we'll be back for 2018,” he said.
"Every sporting club starts with a strong junior foundation.”
"We've dipped by about 10% in juniors in the past year, so we are now working on that for the future.”
Defending their actions, members of the former committee said falling junior numbers had impacted the entire Bundaberg Basketball program.
Former secretary Lucinda Doughty said the lack of juniors hurt the association, with funds from other programs, including the QBL, contributing to the cost.
"Our QBL program was in profit for the past two years,” Doughty said.
"Falling juniors created the issues we have now.”
Doughty said the loss of the Bears and the Bulls would hurt with reduced exposure of the sport in the area but was confident the teams could come back to the competition in the not-too-distant future.