British

Campaign Launched to Dispute Basketball Funding Cut

January 19, 2013 17:27 pm 44 comments

by Sam Neter

Fund British Basketball CampaignOn December 18th 2012, British Basketball was turned on its head with the news that it would receive no funding for the next four year cycle toward Rio 2016.

After letting the initial shock settle in, I had some time to think about just how severe the implications of this are. It’s as simple as this: without funding the future for British Basketball is very, very bleak.

I’ve been inundated with emails, tweets, Facebook messages, text messages and phone calls from people asking what they can do to help make a stand against this outrageous decision.

So here it is…today officially sees the launch of ‘Fund British Basketball’ a campaign set up by myself and Leicester Riders General Manager Russ Levenston. The aim? To get as many people as possible to sign this petition.

If you haven’t signed it yet, please do it right now, and get as many of your friends and family to do it as possible. If the UK basketball community really pushes this and takes action, I have no doubt that within a very short period of time we can have a pretty sizable number of people demanding the government to take notice.

I know some of you have strong opinions about British Basketball as an organisation (myself included) but no argument can be made by anyone that cares about the sport in this country that the funding cut is a positive thing.

As a small and tight knit community we need to come together for the good of our sport. If this decision is upheld it will devastate basketball in the UK for years to come. Please sign the petition and spread the word about the campaign.

There’s a website which will follow all campaign/funding related news and serve as a home base.

The official press release for the launch of the campaign is below – if you have a website, or any other type of publishing outlet please consider writing a story about it. If you have a social media account, please spread the word on there. On Twitter we’re using the hashtag #fundbritishbasketball to track tweets, which are all appearing in the sidebar on the official campaign site.

If you have an idea to help, or want more information, I am available any time on sam(@)hoopsfix.com (not always an instant response, but I do my best!).

I’m a stickler for quotes, so I’ll leave you with this one from Margaret Mead:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Let’s do this.

Sam

Official Press Release

 

A grass roots campaign has been launched by members of the basketball community in the United Kingdom, urging UK Sport to reconsider their decision not to allocate funding to British basketball for the next Olympic cycle to 2016.‘Fund British Basketball’, a website with an accompanying petition on the official government website, was created by Hoopsfix.com founder Sam Neter and Leicester Riders General Manager Russ Levenston.

“For all this talk of legacy over the last 5 years, it seems like basketball is one of the sports that has been forgotten about,” said 26 year old Neter whose website receives over 80,000 visits a month, predominantly from the UK. “To cut basketball’s funding, a sport which has arguably shown greater progress than any other over the last four years, is a complete kick in the teeth.

“Their criteria for funding may be medal hopes only, but that is flawed when it compares all sports on an equal footing. If a sport only has say a few dozen countries in it, of course it’s going to be easier to win a medal. If it has multiple events and multiple distances the same would apply.”

Sports participated in by a tiny part of the population compared with basketball, such as rowing (£32.6m), sailing (£24.5m) taekwondo (£6.9m) and modern pentathlon (£6.9m), were rewarded with budget increases.

“The question has to be asked, as a nation, is all we care about medals, and the guesswork of a few about who might win in 4 or 8 years time, or do we want to provide hope and a future for sports that are actually played by the people.”

Basketball is the second most popular sport for 11-15 year olds in England, say the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and according to Sport England, those participants are made up of 42% ethnic minorities; the clear leader of getting children from black and minority ethnic backgrounds active and the sport with the largest percentages from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.

High profile figures such as FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann, NBA Commissioner David Stern and Sir Clive Woodward have all condemned the cut, branding it “incomprehensible”, “confounding” and “completely baffling”.

The Fund British Basketball campaign also states the UK Sport’s “no compromise-formula” lacks consistency, with sports such as swimming still being funded to the tune of £21.4m (a reduction of only £3.7m) despite barely hitting half of their medal target, whilst others received funding increases in spite of winning no games at London, such as water polo, whose funding has increased for Rio to £4.5m.

Should the petition reach 100,000 signatures it will be considered for debate in the House of Commons.

The GB men rose from being unranked to being placed 23rd in the world rankings since their inception in 2007, whilst the women reached the number 24 spot. Most recently, at London 2012, the Men lost by a single point in the final seconds to silver medallists Spain, and the Women only in overtime to silver medallists France.

GB stars Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Drew Sullivan are both publicly backing the campaign.

“I am deeply saddened by the recent news of the funding cut,” said North Londoner Mensah-Bonsu who has forged himself a successful professional career in both the NBA and Europe.

“It hurts to think the last four years could have been for nothing, when we thought we were a part of something special that would inspire a generation.”

“Playing domestically, I know how badly the sport needs a Team GB to exist. Kids come up to me on a daily basis to say how much the Olympics meant to them, and players I coach have all hoped to be a part of the GB set up in the future,” said Leicester Riders captain Sullivan.

“I encourage everyone to make their opinion count by signing the petition and supporting the Fund British Basketball campaign.”

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  • Open mic

    I’m sorry but saying the future of bball in uk is very bleak without specific reasoning is not good enough. What is the money used for? How has it been spent in the past? What are the chances we have success in the 2016 Olympics… In fact what are the chances we even qualify? Why do we deserve it over other sports? There’s not a bottomless pit of money available, contrary to what many wish to believe, so with that in mind why not suggest where the money could be found from other sports and why. This is typical of British basketball… A lot of rhetoric without meaningful explanation! If the money will directly and significantly help the grassroots then I’m sure many more will sign… But stories are rife that the money was not used well before and mostly propped up a team which did not grow the sport despite having its first ever nba all star!

    • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

      That’s a totally fair comment and I did think whether or not going into it in more detail was a good idea. However, the post was pretty lengthy and I wanted to keep it to the point – if you care about basketball in this country you should sign the petition.

      How anyone can argue that the sport losing £8.5m is a good thing, I don’t know. The Great Britain teams as we know them simply won’t exist anymore like they have (or at all?). With no money, forget about NBA players (Luol and now Joel) playing for the team, forget about having world class coaches, forget about having a fully professional support team, forget about creating an elite environment for the players to perform optimally, if Chris Spice is to be believed, forget about an U20s or Futures programme existing…the list goes on. The cut effectively kills GB and we go back to the days where the senior England side were staying in shoddy hotels eating pot noodles for dinner…

      Why do we deserve it over other sports? Because basketball is played by hundreds of thousands of young players up and down the country and has countless positive effects that go way beyond just basketball. Unlike equestrianism, shooting, sailing, rowing or any of the other public school elitist sports that are ridiculously over-funded, basketball is accessible and actually played by the people. UK Sport are blind medal chasing without looking at the bigger picture.

      It’s worth nothing the remit for UK Sport funding is the elite end of the spectrum, funding national teams etc, not grassroots development (which is what EB is for). However, it is no secret that countries with successful national teams normally have a decent grassroots structure. Having a decent GB team, IMO, will indirectly help the grassroots – young players need to have something to aspire to and work toward (not to mention having a GB U20 team is pretty important for an age range where we see a lot of drop out).

      I’m the first to say that the previous cycle of funding was not spent as well as it could have been – there was wastage…however, the solution is not to cut the funding to zero! Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. First issue is getting the funding back so we can actually field GB teams…after that, holding staff/the board accountable for how the money is spent is of paramount importance.

  • Jo

    It’s a very good cause and its great to see this happening but the bigger picture is the state of England Basketball full stop. The goverment wouldn’t had stopped funding without looking at the business it can drag in. Look at cycleing. With Sky behind them it wouldn’t have done as good as it should have. But they did very well at the Olympics and rightly so deserve more funding but its all hand in glove you scratch my back and so on.
    The point I’m making is we didn’t do very well at the Olympics at basketball. You could tell when you saw all those empty seats that should have been filled. We only got there because we were the host nation. To much money was spent on the players going going overseas to train not the correct player selection ie DVO. To many old knackerd players way over the hill playing just because they’ve been around for sometime. England basketball will always be the same EBL think there something special and BBL need more TV coverage.
    Merge the EBL with BBL make a two tier professional league. Get high profile investors into the game develop the young talent through a academy style set up which will develop young talented players who deserve to be there and pay a salary to the junior England coaches. Oyeh England coaches look abut further than the Watford Gap there’s plenty of talented junior players outside of London.
    To finish.
    If we want funding EBL and BBL have to work together. Develop a two tier professional league with academy status for young players. Ex British and serving British NBA players put something back into your sport and not think about your own pocket… UK has a chance to enlighten the world in Rio. Lets do it the wright way and develop both leagues including the woman’s.
    rant over.

    • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

      Fair enough…but how does stopping funding help solve all these issues?

  • London2012

    And put the right people in charge. Those failed managers and directors must go. I for one will not sign if Spice is still in charge. Bring a top basketball specialist with a proven record from Europe!!

  • Roy

    Basketball has no future in England, other than as an enjoyable pastime for those who wish to play!!!!!!

    Years ago, when I first started to coach, the elders of the game at that time kept telling me how badly and inefficiently the sport was administered and organized and how it would never improve.

    I argued quite vehemently against this, saying that it was such a great game that it would certainly develop. Now, more than 30 years later, I am saying exactly the same things as was then said to me.

    Absolutely nothing has changed.

    The sport is still run by an Administration that collectively has no vision, or forward thinking and is under the charge of a CEO and Executive Committee that has not the least idea of how to resurrect and develop the game and is devoid of the necessary business acumen so necessary to develop the sport in today’s economic climate.

    It has, apparently been necessary to go abroad to appoint so-called professionals to try and regurgitate basketball in England, thus stating , in no uncertain terms, that there is nobody in this country that has the relevant qualifications and expertise required.

    One might ask why a person chooses to accept a position within the sport in this country when that same person cannot apparently obtain a job in his own country where the sport is of a much higher standard.

    To an extent the funding of GB is an irrelevancy since for the game to have even a slim chance of improvement money must be invested in English basketball; in to the grass roots of the game, in to paying coaches and in to changing the culture of national and local government as to the enormous benefits that can be had from sport in general and basketball specifically.

    We have a British Basketball League that, to use a well known phrase, is the pitts.

    We have a junior league that does not even promote mediocrity, let alone meritocracy that should be its prime purpose.

    There are countless number of people throughout the country, (including national team coaches), who are doing their utmost to promote the sport in their own region, and all of course doing this not only unpaid, but using their own finances to aid what they are doing.

    The fact that all their hard work and effort is being totally negated by the intransigence and complacency of the EB Administration must be really frustrating.

    As a basketball community we are complacent and content to let this situation continue.

  • Loraine

    I’m sorry but a petition is not the answer at this stage!……..I wish it was that simple but as a basketball volunteer, parent, facility provider, ex-club and national team player I would love to sign the petition but I honestly believe BASKETBALL needs a total overhaul from top to bottom so we can get value for money from any future funding! We also need to prove to those outside of the sport that BASKETBALL is worthy of both private and government investment for all the good reasons mentioned by many of you but it saddens me to say that we are far from that position! I cannot deny that the Olympics and Paralympics were fantastic in showcasing basketball (in spite of the close defeats for GB teams!) but the “basketball legacy” has not come as any surprise for those who truly know basketball in this country and who understand that this has been building up for a long time. If you think it is simply about medals and success in Rio, it is not, there are other influencing factors at play. UK Sport have a very negative view of basketball…..or dare I say those governing “the running version” of basketball! (not wheelchair basketball). They stand firm on their opinion despite their awareness of the wider appeal of basketball, the diversity and all its benefits, but unfortunately this will not change while the governance and management of our sport remains the same and there is apathy and tolerance within the membership. However, politics aside, we (the wider community of basketball) also failed to capitalise on the Olympics due to the fact that most of the administrators, coaches and players were only here for one reason and therefore the domestic game has hardly benefited at all which is the most disconcerting thing for me! Sadly the funding we did receive was all geared towards those 2 weeks in London and you can probably count the number of coaches/players on one hand, bringing that experience back into our game! Things desperately need to change and that change needs to come soon, as reflecting on the appalling state of girls and women’s basketball in this country, albeit a few pockets of good practice around the country, there will not be any players to fuel the performance pathway anyway. Surely there is someone in the hierarchy of basketball who has enough respect in the sporting world and sufficient passion to fight the corner of this wonderful sport, turn it all around and finally let it reach its potential!……and surely there is someone else who should do the right thing and resign! :-)

    • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

      Though I’m totally cool with you disagreeing a petition is the solution at this stage, you provide no actionable alternative.

      Saying the sport needs a complete overhaul is something many people have said for years, but how are you suggesting people go about making that happen? Your final sentence saying “Surely there is someone in the hierarchy of basketball who has enough respect in the sporting world and sufficient passion to fight the corner of this wonderful sport, turn it all around and finally let it reach its potential!” pretty much sums it all up. It is this laissez-faire attitude that cripples the sport.

      I’m as skeptical as anyone about petitions, however, it is something the community can get behind and actually do. I truly believe that, let’s say, 100,000 people sign it, it gives weight when trying to take it to someone higher. People need to show they actually care by putting their name to something rather than just moaning on Facebook, Twitter and in blog comments.

      As I said to ‘Open mic’ above, yes, the money could have been spent better, but cutting it to zero for this cycle is not the answer and damages the sport insurmountably.

      • JerryH

        I would agree if the 100 000 people are genuine basketball people. This petition is signed by friends, relatives, etc. just because we ask them to and not because they are really involved. And that´s not even correct in my view as a tax payer. I would like to see all members of EB and Basketball Scotland to sign as a start – how many would that make?

      • Dpeti

        Please state how this funding for GB basketball will, in any conceivable way, help English basketball Sam.

        To date it has not helped one little bit, so how will it help in future.

        You say that even you are skeptical about the petition, so what is the point of the community getting behind it if it will do nothing to improve English basketball; which surely is, or should be, the principal objective if the game is going to improve in any way.

        I disagree that the lack of funding – to GB – will damage the sport insurmountably. It will not.

        You also ask what is the alternative, but there have been numerous suggestions as to what alternatives there might be or how the community might get together to suggest alternatives.

        However, your last comment is 100% correct. It is the laissez faire attitude of all of us that has allowed us to get into the state that we are in.

        • http://www.hoopsfix.com Sam Neter

          Dpeti,

          I disagree it has not helped one bit. The GB National team has been higher profile than any previous NT that has ever existed. Many kids are now able to name members of the team who they would not have been aware of before, and also I believe have been inspired as a result. If the GB team has inspired the next Luol Deng, is that not a good thing?

          Having a profile team to follow has been a hugely precious experience for many of the UK community over the past 5/6 years and it is not something to just be brushed off. Having the U20s programme has benefited many of the players, allowing them to compete against European competition they otherwise would not have had.

          As I’ve said, a LOT more could have been done, but you seem to have a constant vendetta just to tear everything down.

          Insurmountable may have been too strong of a word, I agree, but it undoubtedly damages the sport.

          You seem to be missing my point – who cares for making suggestions or alternatives? Talking means nothing, action is what is needed and at least I’m TRYING to physically do something rather than just shooting down other’s attempts.

          Even if this petition is something that British Basketball can point to in their appeal, or the APG can refer to on Monday in saying “this many people care enough to put their name to something” and helps strengthen their case, then it will have succeeded.

          • JerryH

            I would disagree with the U20´s because they were set-up by England Basketball as all other youth teams before them and did not inspire more kids just because they had GB on their uniform. As a matter of fact, this is exactly where the problem is – not enough was done for the U20´s, the coaching development, nor linking it properly with the rest of the structure. Hence, we are still in Division B 7 years later while most other Euro countries with a lot less money are far ahead. Where are our Saric or Valciunas? Why 13.5 million pounds did not produce them? I sincerely doubt that Spice & co are capable of delivering, they have not done it so far. Money are definately needed, but so is good leadership.

          • Dpeti

            I only hope, and very sincerely, that your petition will have all the success that you hope for Sam.

            My “vendetta” is, like yourself, to hope that basketball will take what should be its rightful place within the sporting hierarchy of this country.

            I just wonder why this has not yet happened.

            Maybe a petition to increase the support and funding to English basketball might have a more positive event.

          • Gerry

            If talking means nothing, there would seem to be little point in having a comments section. I would think that talking, and offering possible alternatives does mean something, even if only that a number of people do care about this sport of ours. Most people of course are not in any position to do anything to change, although I do know of a number both in the North and the South who have been trying for many years to help change the sport. One most certainly should not deride others attempts to better the sport, but of course if it seems that people in any position of authority are not performing to expectations, then there is nothing untoward to pointing this out.

  • Rob

    None of the elite (UK Sport) funding was allowed to be spent on the grassroots. It was aimed at the two weeks in 2012 because that’s what it was expressly given for. The national teams.

  • Loraine

    Hi Rob, you miss my point as I understand what the funding was ring fenced for……..however, that funding into the national team programme, specifically for the Olympics or Europeans etc could give better value for money and wider benefits for british basketball e.g COACHING….how many british coaches gained valuable international experience throughout the duration of the programme and was able to bring that back into the domestic game and also aid their CPD? All we needed was one world class “overseas” coach to head up each of the women’s and the men’s programmes respectively with the legacy being to appoint all british “domestic” coaches in assistant roles in order to gain rare valuable experience at that level! :-)

    • JerryH

      Agreed – instead the money were spent on salaries and 1st class travel around the globe for a bunch of unknown “experts” that have never achieved anything in basketball. Why should we continue to fund these people?! After all, they failed in London and the U20´s are still in B Divisions.
      We want funding, but we would like to see strategy, accountability and people in charge who are capable to take the sport forward. We don´t have this at present.

    • Rob

      Like Sam in his replies above, I agree with a lot of what you are saying. But, and at the risk of repeating what has already been said, ask yourself this question: will anything get better with zero funding for the National Team programmes? The answer is unavoidably no. There IS a need to rectify certain things, but nobody can reform something that doesn’t exist.

      • London2012

        This is all very true and very good but my question here is who is spending the money and on what? If the players have great preparation camps, many games, good coaches -this is all good and they should get wins, right? I will be really angry if the money go for “men in suits” so to speak.

        • Rob

          Totally agree, but as I said, without the money (and it doesn’t have to be anywhere near £8.5m) being there, we can’t even have the rest of this discussion.

  • Fan

    Excellent point Loraine as were the previous ones.

  • http://theundersizedbasketballpodcast.blogspot.co.uk/ Chris

    Sam you’re campaign is excellent. The work and promotion you have dedicated to the issue is great.

    In terms of UK Sport and the funding cuts: It’s such flawed logic. If all the money is given to those sports at the top of the medal table, then how are the ones at the bottom ever going to flourish? British cycling didn’t become the dominant force it is today through a one-off four-year cash injection. It takes time.

    • http://theundersizedbasketballpodcast.blogspot.co.uk/ Chris

      Your* campaign! Serves me right for altering the sentence without changing the context. ha

  • London2012

    British Basketball was funded for 7 years, not 4. This is why UK Sport is not so keen to continue putting money in as they stated that the sport missed targets and, more importantly, has very little chance of qualifying for the next Olympics. They are correct in this statment unfortunately as we stand now. It is another story that more facilities and funding should be made available to clubs to be able to grow the sport. But this is not UK Sport’s job, they must deliver medals and they have been pretty straight about that.

    • http://theundersizedbasketballpodcast.blogspot.co.uk/ Chris

      7 years is still not enough, particularly for a team sport. Nevertheless, the team have clearly made tangible progress in that time span; you only need to look at how well Brit’s are doing abroad.

      Arbitrary goals set by UK Sport, which are not placed in any context, is the real problem. They only see the raw numbers. Development is not linear and can’t be measured as such.

      • Georgio

        I am not sure how you link the GB programme to Brits doing well abroad? In the past players like Archibald, Andy Betts, Amaechi and many others did extremely well also. Joel Freeland for example did not come through GB at all and even Luol Deng was naturalized before GB took over. Manchester and London programmes have always sent talented kids to NCAA. The progress GB made was mainly due to having an NBA superstar like Luol on the team and, let´s not forget that they did not manage to beat any of the top teams. If UK Sport have to make their decision based on the present team (2 retired and Luol and Joel non-committal), plus the youth that is still Division B standard, I am not surprised they don´t support us. The 20+ places up the FIBA rankings are only due to participating in the home Olympics and not based on any achievements on the court.

        • http://theundersizedbasketballpodcast.blogspot.co.uk/ Chris

          I wasn’t directly attributing Team GB for the likes of Andrew Lawrence excelling in the States. The point I was making is that we have genuine talent and the cupboard isn’t as bare as people are trying to make out.

          I think the way that UK Sport allocates funding shows a very narrow, and shortsighted perspective (see Georgio’s link for further evidence).

          The rich get richer while the poor get obliterated (not only in basketball).

          Unless you’re an individual sport and your lucky enough to have one elite performer, you don’t have a chance of succeeding in a system that demands you win immediately.

          At the end of the day UK Sport are looking at the Xs & Os – without looking at the context and performances – herein lies the problem.

          It all looks great to the public, who see that we’ve won so many medals. Great, we continue to heavily invest in minority sports that are only available to a certain section of society (rowing – don’t get me wrong I like rowing). But remember the Olympics were sold on the back of a legacy promise – for both grassroots and elite sport – more people playing at the bottom inspired by those at the top.

          Whether or not you think GB’s performances at the Olympics were inspiring is debatable; personally, I think they were. Watching GB compete against legends of the game must only have whet the appetite, and lit the imagination, of countless young ballers. The funding cuts are effectively an end to that dream.

          We all agree that the money could have been spent better, that’s not the issue for right now. The issue is of perspective, sustained progress and broken legacy promises.

          • Georgio

            I think that people here don´t understand that the UK Sport job is to invest in potential medalists, not to develop the sport. This is the job of the national governing bodies and their respective sports councils. The fact that our talented ballers are developed outside UK speaks volumes. In a team sport the players must train together as long as possible to develop chemistry. We don´t have that and not enough has been done over the past years when for the first time ever basketball was funded extremely well. It does not take much to notice that the sport has not improved at all domestically, neither internationally as our leagues are poor and we have no teams playing in Europe.

            • http://theundersizedbasketballpodcast.blogspot.co.uk/ Chris

              We all understand that UK Sport are solely responsible for elite sport & winning medals.

              The point is, with such high participation rates across the country, a dedicated following and the backing of some of the largest basketball organisations in the world, basketball has the long term potential to continually win medals. It just needs the funding, vision and commitment.

              True, the BBL isn’t currently at the level of many of the leagues in Europe. But to say the league isn’t improving is a stretch. The many BBL-University affiliations is surely a sign of progress in the player development category.

              You’ve also said that players need to play together to develop chemistry. That isn’t going to happen with zero funding to hold training camps.

              We can continue to criticise the status quo and resign ourselves to failure, or we can continue to campaign and try and make a change.

              • JerryH

                I don´t know what participation rates are you talking about? EB has just over 40 000 members and this is for a country with 65mln population. France has over 1 million registered members! Most of the women clubs here have the same players playing at U16, U18 and senior level, etc., etc. There is no progress in numbers, neither spectators in comparison with previous years – just how many people turned-up to watch the GB games?! This is the problem – no wins and no noticeable growth of the sport nationally. We can about potential all we want, but we should fix our sport first and get the right people in charge. Basketball, if it so popular and well followed, should be able to fund itself rather than just rely on 100% taxpayer funding. We have been totally ignored by GB Basketball as fans and supporters before. Now they need us to get more money and keep their jobs and we have been “invited”…

                • http://theundersizedbasketballpodcast.blogspot.co.uk/ Chris

                  I was talking about the increased interest in primary and secondary schools – post olympics – and the game being played on the streets. For example, the school I teach in has recently established its first basketball club – at the request of the children.

                  I suppose a lot of the domestic funding issues stem from a lack of culture and tradition, which has resulted in a lack of media coverage.

                  • London2012

                    This is the job of England and Scotland basketball – they receive support from their sports councils to develop school-club links. GB teams are funded by UK Sport and the money are given to British Performance Basketball that has shown so far zero interest in the school basketball, academies, or local clubs. Still, no national team of any sport should have zero funding, this is ridiculous. Reduced yes, but not to zero.

  • JohnB

    Not convinced that kids have been “inspired” by the performance of the GB team.

    People such as Luol Deng were inspired by the game itself and, I assume, by NCAA and NBA basketball.

  • Georgio
  • JerryH
    • Rob

      Except of course a BBL team is moving into the much more appropriately-sized arena on the Olympic park next season, so there’s some legacy. We could even use it to host GB games, not that there will probably be any after this summer.

      • London2012

        It is disappointing that city the size of London could not keep the arena and use it for various sporting activities. I think that GB can exist and should be able to find some sponsors. They do have money to participate in the Eurobaskets this summer and, if successful as they claim/expect to be, they could get some funding back. So, now it is down to them to actually earn the funding by doing well at the forthcoming championships.

  • Joe R

    Firstly Sam, keep up the great work – I’m with you 100%

    Yes, I agree with comments at how badly the game has been run, albeit even saying so, I have no idea what those running the game have necessarily done wrong other than failing to break through into the top tier of popular UK sports which is no easy task. But as been pointed out before, what does having no funding actually do to improve things?! I also agree with comments about how far the GB&NI team has to go before we can challenge the leading international teams, but so what? I never played any sport to beat those I’d be expected to beat, I played sport to challenge those who are allegedly better – the same spirit that draws hundreds of thousands of football supporters to games each week, hoping for the day they’ll turn over a top team in the FA Cup, or hoping their team will this year, get promoted to the next division & one day reach the top of the Premier League – however much a distant dream that might be.

    Of course the national team has a long way to go, but the growth potential of this game is huge – we just need to capture the interest of kids who play the sport in schools across the country & maintain that interest into their 20s & beyond. A well successful developmental programme that starts at grass roots levels & that also includes support to maintain the high level of momentum enjoyed by the national team with its internationally recognised players is vital and one that is slowly but surely delivering results. I’m not giving in to the naysayers & the cynics and I hope other genuine fans don’t either. Lets get this funding back as soon as we can.

    Joe

  • Tom

    I would love basketball to be run better and has good leagues and pro clubs. The Olympics were great but in my area kids don’t play more basketball, they are asking for handball! Development is very important but where are the strategies to get more and better young players? Without good domestic leagues the sport is never going to grow regardless of the results of the national teams.

  • London2012

    I think that Luol Deng can donate 500k to the GB programme! I´ve read somewhere that Dirk Nowitski paid for the German team a few times in the past. We have some rich ballers out there, give the youngs some help!

  • Roy

    There are of course two sides to the argument regarding sportuk’s decision to cancel funding for the GB team, both of which have certain merit and it has to be a personal decision as to your own point of view.

    Joe R, says not to give in to the naysayers, and I could not agree with him more, despite my own views re the sport’s present situation !!!!!!!!

    Although perhaps not entirely relevant to GB funding I would put forward three principal suggestions that might help the sport to start improving.

    All three will need support from the entire basketball community and all three will take a long time, possibly two years or more, to achieve the desired effects.

    The first is, as I have reiterated before, the total reorganization of the present junior league. Until this is done, the future of senior basketball will remain very bleak.

    There should be one full national league with two divisions (with a possibility of a regional third division) Full promotion and relegation, together with extremely strict rules and regulations concerning team participation.

    A much lesser alternative possibility might be to have one North and one South Junior league, each with only one premier division and with the various local leagues playing in a play-off format to decide which team(s) gets promoted to their premier division. The bottom team(s) of the premier divisions get relegated to their own local league.

    Second would be to bring the BBL under the control of a completely independent body (or under the EB ), thus erasing any possible conflicts of interests and ensuring impartiality.

    Thirdly, to reconstitute the Basketball Coaching Association.

    At present our BCA is meaningless and toothless, but I would suggest that it should be given almost total control over our coaches and the coaching examination system.

    In almost all other European countries there is a fully working Coaching Association that has almost total control over the grading, testing, and qualification of all coaches, and is, more or less, an autonomous Body independent of the Governing Body.

    Of course one can argue that much else needs to be done to develop the sport and its popularity amongst the general public, but the above three proposals would surely be a good start.

  • Tom

    A lot must change in this country to make us a basketball nation. All this talk about the poor kids and opportunities is crazy. What has British Basketball done in the past 7 years for them? Now they are using this argument but the money were not spend on them and will not be in the future. The clubs have no money, the coaches are volunteers and many players don’t botther to commit. Unless there is a complete change of philosophy and people who run the performance programmes in the UK, sport will continue to struggle. Even if the senior national teams do well…

  • Val

    GB teams have done OK, but could have done better and get to the second round. Teams like Canada women and Australia men for example were not that strong, neither the Russian women’s team that looked out of sorts in London.The U20’s boys have not achieved much and this is definitely a big problem, and even the U20 girls are back down. This I am sure is not viewed positively by UK Sport as they did put money in for 7 years. Still, I can’t believe that the 4 national teams are given no money at all. The thing I am also not sure about is what will happen to this GB merger – surely England and Scotland don’t need it now?

  • Tom

    I did not realise till now that GB men last summer were 3-14, only beating Portugal twice in Sheffield and China in London.14 losses in the year we supposed to deliver a good result is not very convincing.

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