British Basketball was dealt a huge blow today when UK Sport announced it would receive no funding as part of the next 4 year cycle in the run up to the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Despite UK Sport announcing a record £347million in funding for sports in the run up to 2016, an increase of 11% on the 2012 funding allocation, basketball will not be one of the beneficiaries.
The announcement comes following Great Britain’s disappointing performances at the London 2012 Olympics where both teams combined for a single win.
“We knew the criteria that UK Sport were applying for Rio, but having been funded to the tune of £8.5m in the lead up to the London Olympics because of the sport’s medal potential for the future, this is a devastating decision and is a waste of that investment.” said British BasketballChairman, Roger Moreland.
“Over the last five years, the GB teams have done the equivalent of going from League Two in football to the Premier League. They have been competing with the very best countries in the world. It doesn’t seem much of a legacy from 2012 to dash the hopes and aspirations of a sport whose heartland is founded in Britain’s inner cities.”
British Basketball also praised the contributions of the home country federations and the international body, FIBA. Moreland continued: “Our colleagues in the home countries and FIBA have given huge support to the GB programmes and they have dealt positively with some challenging discussions about the future structure of the sport.
“Having dealt with those challenges so constructively, the decision seems scant reward for embracing change designed to realise medal potential”.
With the GB men’s team heading for its third consecutive European Championship Finals in 2013 appearance and the women’s team its second, British Basketball remains focused on the future.
Moreland added: “We have only been informed of this decision today and we will need to take stock of what we do going forward. The first thing we will be doing is appealing this decision. There seems to be a huge gap in the funding system for sports such as basketball. There is a fantastic talent pool in this country which comes from different parts of the community than the majority of sports UK Sport supports. They deserve better. We will take stock and thoroughly investigate all avenues and discuss options with the fantastic network of partners we have built up over time and anyone else that wants to join us. A few years back many people said GB teams wouldn’t be competitive at the Olympics. We were. The men’s team lost by one point to eventual silver medallists, Spain and soundly beat world ranked number 10, China. The women only lost on the last shot of over-time to France who won the silver medal. We have the athletes with the potential to win medals and that’s what British Basketball intends to do.”
More to come.