Swedish club Masarna – hometown club of Speedway GP legend Tony Rickardsson – has withdrawn from the Bauhaus Elitserien due to financial problems.

The Avesta-based outfit has been the subject of intense speculation in recent months as the club, Swedish federation SVEMO and league governing body Elite Speedway Sweden (ESS) worked to find a way to keep Masarna on track.

But in a joint statement, they confirmed their focus is now on allowing the club to rebuild from scratch. The statement read: "It is of course extremely sad that we end up here, both for the club, the league and the sport. At the same time, we see it as the first step to a fresh start and an opportunity to build the club from the ground up again.”

Masarna sporting director Roger Uppgård insists the club tried everything to turn the situation around and survive into 2023, with league bosses even extending the deadline given to the 2020 champions to find a solution.

He said: "We have done everything in our power, and we are grateful that SVEMO and ESS went outside the regulations and gave us more time. With the extra time, we have had the chance to turn over every single stone and then state that we will not last a season in the Bauhaus league.

“While it of course feels like a defeat, it is also nice that we were able to really evaluate all options. Now we are looking ahead and will continue to work with the fine youth activities that exist in the club, which will lay the foundation for our new future.”

While Mikael Holmstrand, chairman of ESS, is sad to see Masarna forced out, he admits their decision not to start the season is a responsible one as the Bauhaus Elitserien now plans for a season with seven teams.

He said: “It is very sad that we ended up here. Everyone involved has done what they could and now realises that it is not solvable. Then, the only responsible decision is to restart the business from scratch. Now we have to look ahead and let the other clubs start planning for the season which is soon here. We will continue a close dialogue with ESS to do what we can to make the season as good as possible.

“Our first priority was to try to secure eight teams in the league. At the same time, we had a clear demand on Masarna that if they were to start the season in the league, they must also be able to finish it.

“An exit now is of course unfortunate, but it would have been far worse if it had happened during the current season. We will now immediately sit down to see if we need to make any adjustments, e.g. about the schedule for the coming season. We have of course considered alternative scenarios along the way, but it’s only now that we know the conditions.”