THE Elite League has been thrown into disarray after Birmingham Brummies announced the club was to close.

The Perry Barr outfit, who Pirates defeated in last year’s grand final, will play no further part in the 2014 competition.

There had been major concerns over the Brummies’ prospects for several weeks after owner Alan Phillips decided to step down, admitting the club had short-term cash flow problems.

Attempts to secure a new owner were unsuccessful and Birmingham’s 60-32 hammering at Poole on June 25 proved their penultimate outing in British speedway’s top-flight in 2014.

British Speedway Promoters’ Association chairman Alex Harkess said: “I’m gutted about this outcome, but sadly there was no alternative.

“When I met with the loyal group of Birmingham supporters last week I believed there was genuine hope, but sadly things have changed over the last few days.

“As an association, we have done everything possible to try and ensure the continuation of speedway, but with no promoter willing to take the club forward, I’m afraid the club is closed for business.

“I feel for the Birmingham riders and supporters who have been a real credit through this ordeal and we all hope this is not the last time we see speedway at Perry Barr Stadium.”

If the Brummies’ results were expunged, Pirates would jump from third to second in the table.

That would enable Neil Middleditch’s men to close the gap on league leaders King’s Lynn to 15 points, with two meetings in hand.

However, Pirates would only hold a seven-point cushion in the play-offs, a decrease on the current nine.