In an update of a post late last week, the 2006 German BBL champions and three-time German cup winners Köln 99ers have filed for insolvency with a court in Cologne. The German league is expected to review the paperwork quickly to determine if another team will be given a wild card for the 2009-10 season.
The Cologne club filed for insolvency in January 2008 but it was barely prevented in the end. On February 19, 2009, the BBL announced that the club was being relegated and the 99ers planned on not playing a ULEB Cup game that night. But a last-second investor was found before the BBL paperwork had gone through, saving the season.
The roller-coaster ride for Köln 99ers fans continued on Friday when club management submitted their insolvency paperwork to a Cologne court just four days after having been given a license for the BBL for 2009-10. BBL CEO Jan Pommer called the move Friday “very unfortunate and very aggravating”.
Club officials claimed the current 1.2 million euro budget was not sufficient with 1.5 million euros being needed. And management was unable to find investors for the missing monies. The club also said they would forgo playing this season in the second division ProA, essentially ending professional basketball in Cologne.
The Köln 99ers, which were founded in 2001 and joined the BBL thanks to a wild card, would become the 10th team since the founding of the BBL in 1996 to depart the league without being relegated on the court.
Should the Köln 99ers paperwork go through, the BBL has already said a second wild card for the 2009-10 season would go to the Eisbären Bremerhaven, who finished in last place last season. Giessen were given a wild card last week.
“I will not believe anything until I see it in black and white,” was the response of Bremerhaven general manager Jan Rathjen.
Bremerhaven desperately need a decision soon as they must know if they have to plan for the ProA or the BBL. If Bremerhaven do return to the BBL, Rathjen and head coach Doug Spradley will be at a disadvantage as many first division clubs have already started signing players for the up-coming season.
“We have a Plan A and a Plan B. But we have to wait because the players we have been negotiating with have said they need to know if we will be playing in the first or second division,” added Rathjen.