Turkish billionaire Yücel buys British Basketball League’s Plymouth Raiders

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Turkish billionaire Enver Yücel has completed the purchase of British Basketball League side Plymouth Raiders for an undisclosed amount. 

Yücel is the director of worldwide education company BAU Global and the Marine Learning Alliance College, and has acquired the Devon-based team through the investment arm of MLA College. Former co-owners Richard Mollard and Ross Mackenzie will remain with the outfit as directors.

Yucel also owns Turkish basketball side Bahçeşehir. Under his ownership, Bahçeşehir has climbed from Turkey’s second division, where it started after its foundation three years ago, into the Basketball Super League, and this year has qualified for the last eight of the EuroCup, the second-tier of European competition. There will be “close ties” between the two clubs going forward, Yücel said.

He added: “We are particularly enthusiastic to encourage the linking of sport and education and of course we want to develop the Raiders into a BBL winning team.”

The Raiders finished bottom of the BBL’s South Group in the 2019-20 season, winning just two of their 10 matches, but have already announced the signings of Great Britain international and former NBA draft pick Ryan Richards and ex-London Royals guard Matt Scott since the close season. 

Mackenzie said he did not expect to see a spending-spree as a result of the takeover, however. “There are certain wage restrictions of course, we’re not talking about being able to go out and just do things in football money terms,” he said. “But what this will allow us to do is look at the market, look at the kind of players that maybe we haven’t been able to go in for and bring them to Plymouth.”