British

UK Sport Reverse Decision, Will Fund British Basketball

February 1, 2013 14:42 pm 27 comments

by Sam Neter

Luol Deng GB vs Spain OlympicsUK Sport has announced that they will reverse their decision to cut British Basketball’s funding to zero.

The award, however, does not come without strings attached. It will be on a one year conditional basis with the following three years funding released only on the fulfilment of strict performance criteria. The exact amount of investment to be awarded will be determined through further dialogue in the coming weeks.

It means that strong performances at this summer’s Eurobasket are of paramount importance and everything the body does over the coming year will be under the microscope.

Following their informal representation to the UK Sport board on Wednesday, it was said that basketball “presented new and compelling performance information” that re-prioritised it with an agreement from the board for further investment. Wheelchair fencing will now also be funded.

Liz Nicholl the Chief Executive of UK Sport said:

“UK Sport is delighted to be able to confirm that we will now be investing in two additional sports for the Rio cycle, taking the overall total to 44 sports. These sports have credible medal potential for 2016 or 2020. This is a fantastic legacy from London 2012 for the UK high performance system and demonstrates the progress UK Sport has been able to make thanks to continued support from The National Lottery and Government.

“Our ‘No Compromise’ investment principles have generated incredible results in recent Games, and we continue to wholeheartedly believe in this approach to realise our high ambitions for the Rio 2016 Games, where we are aiming for more Olympic and Paralympic medals than were won in London. Our approach will deliver a stronger more sustainable high performance system.”

British Basketball’s Performance Chairman, Roger Moreland said:

“We are absolutely delighted with the decision of UK Sport today. They have acknowledged that we successfully presented compelling new performance data, which not only impressed the Board but made them recognise that we are potential podium contenders for 2020. They could see from our evidence and that supplied by Patrick Baumann from our International Federation (FIBA) that our sport has an upward trajectory in terms of both performance and participation.

“The endorsement and support of FIBA also played a crucial part in our success by demonstrating through technical information, how much progress we have made over the last 7 years as well as our position globally. We will now enter into a dialogue with UK Sport about the actual details and level of funding as well the support services required. This is a momentous day for British Basketball and everyone who is connected with the sports, whether players, fans or officials.”

“Today’s news is absolutely fantastic for the sport,” said GB star Drew Sullivan. “I am overwhelmed to hear basketball have been awarded funding from UK Sport. This news puts GB firmly back on the map and on the road to success. I would like to say a huge thank you to all the fans who have supported the campaign to fund British Basketball.”

Meanwhile, Patrick Baumann, Secretary General of FIBA who has fought British Basketball’s corner and presented to the UK Sport board on Wednesday was also elated.

“I am thrilled for British Basketball and UK Sport’s recognition and appreciation of the very strong case we presented,” he commented. “The new funding will allow the sport to build on the progress and growth it has already made in a very short time and aim for a podium place in 2020.”

Hugh Robertson MP, Minister for Sport, added:

“I am delighted that at their informal representations, both Basketball and Wheelchair Fencing, were able to produce new performance data that showed that they have a realistic chance of getting a medal in 2020. This is good news for both sports, and would not have been possible without the Governments lottery reforms in May 2010.”

More to come.

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  • dave f

    Makes you wonder why this `compelling new performance data` was not put forward in the first place.

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

      Just been having a conversation with a friend – I wonder whether the new data had anything to do with FIBA’s application to the IOC today for 16 teams instead of 12 at the Olympics. Baumann could have made a strong case for it (perhaps he’s aware, for example, that it’s extremely likely to be approved?), and it would no doubt increase GB’s chances of qualifying for Rio. It changes things significantly.

      • Tom

        This is just a PR with an IOC member Baumann. It does not really change the situation at all as they only have guaranteed money for this summer. This should have been the case anyway as the GB teams are playing in the Eurobaskets as authomatic qialifiers from home Ollympics and this commitment must be honoured. If they make the top 8 (I assume!) or qualify for the World Championships, the team(s) will have to be funded to play at them. I am sure that this would have happened anyway if the result is there. So, not much has changed – GB and EB have 1 year funding to prove themselves. After 7 years and millions invested it is down to a few months.Let’s hope that this time around something will be achieved.

  • Andrew

    Same teams, same coaches and the same players from those particular clubs will reap the benefits. Small time clubs won’t even see the benefit, all the money will go to projects that feature certain players from those clubs who have coaches who are deemed ‘good’ coaches. Yes it will provide money for things such as Final Fours but honestly whether or not EB gets the funding or not doesnt change the landscape of the game for most young players in england. As I’ve grown up with the game I’ve noticed this and frankly it sickens me.

    • Dpeti

      Think you may have mis-understood. The money is for GB not EB.

      • Andrew

        Oh apologies then, but to be honest I still only see certain clubs players making it to the GB futures for example

  • Reggie

    Unfortunately, it’s only a on a one year conditional basis.
    So basically, UK Sport will expect Team GB to at least have a bronze medal at this summers Eurobasket.
    My goodness….
    I really hope it works out, but my god will it be difficult to finish well at Eurobasket. That is the competition that they will be fixated on, so they better do a good job… or I fear the funding will cut again..

  • Dave f

    This is performance funding not eb funding.

  • Tom McDonald

    Mixed feeling about this – on the outside it’s great… but, if the same extremely well paid management who failed the first time are in exactly the same roles with exactly the same level of unaccountably, there’s no reason to think things will get any better… in fact, quite the reverse.

  • Honestjohn

    Suspect performance targets will link to quarter finals at this years euro baskets … That way guaranteeing a top seeding in the 2015 tournament … Which is the qualification route for rio.

  • Ken B

    We all rallied together to support the petition understanding that basketball needs the top end to continue to inspire the younger generation and give the wider population a focus point for our sport. However, now we’ve collectively gotten to this position, we need to now demand further scrutiny into the MANAGEMENT of our sport and ask the questions that are being swept under the carpet. Where did the 8.75 million go the first time around? How well did we really do at developing GB Basketball at the top level? The men’s program was built around one outstanding player who has single-handedly lifted GB on his back and given us any chance of credibility – this does not represent a PROGRAM. The development plans and preparation, the coaching and overall systems put in place to sustain excellence at the top end were (and continue to be) sorely inadequate at best.

    Now we’ve gotten funding back, we need an OVERHAUL of our GB program and let’s re-think how we’ve been doing things. We have the wrong people in positions of power within the present set up and it needs to change if all this pleading to UK Sport is ultimately going to count for anything. The program has been run with a ‘quick fix/patching the holes’ mentality instead of a ‘build on solid foundations/for long-term success’ mindset. Just to set things off in the right direction, it might be an idea to CONNECT elite basketball to the infrastructures underneath it that should continue to feed elite talent into the top level system. There needs to be constructive (but honest) DIALOGUE between a more diverse basketball think-tank and stronger leadership at the top to ensure we ‘back the right horse’ and stay on track with the overall vision so we see it through to a successful end.

    This is an OPPORTUNITY to start to really fix our game and get it right, but that won’t happen if we continue to do the same things we’ve been doing and expect different results.

    • JohnB

      The fact that GB now has some funding will not in itself affect EB management. Questions re EB management should have been asked before now and indeed were asked, or at least mentioned in the Mallin report some years ago. Nothing has materially changed since then.

      The Mallin Report did suggest that a complete change of personnel would be good for basketball and, at last we now have an independent Chairman and three independent members of the Executive Committee.

      Only time will tell how this will affect our sport.

      I am not too sure if the fact that we have a GB program does indeed inspire the younger players. Certainly in my own club the kids never mention the GB team, it is almost always talk of NBA. Even during the Olympics the players hardly mentioned the GB games.

      As has been mentioned in other comments on Hoopsfix, Hugh Robertson was quite scathing (diplomatically speaking) about the EB Administration so it will be very interesting to see what happens over the coming weeks/months.

      The future of any GB program is absolutely dependent on the progress and development of English basketball. Until English basketball starts to provide players that can compete amongst the best in Europe, GB will never deliver.

      • Tom

        Is your opinion of the management of British Performance’s Basketball high? I think that these are the people who wasted fantastic opportunity. I would like to know how much the “management” of this organisation has spent on their own salaries etc….I assume quite a lot.

    • Old Naismith

      This is one of the best comments I’ve read anywhere! Well done Ken B…very insightful!

      However, I fear that things wont change. I say get rid of all the foreigners for a start…but let me qualify that before all the ‘talking heads’ begin yelling about racism and / or xenophobia!

      Chirs Spice (Australian) – most people would agree – he has to go. Not even a ‘basketball guy’. Hockey and Rugby were (allegedly) glad to see the back of him. Pathetic that he should manufacture the situation so that he could sit on the Olympic bench(es)…unbelievable….same for Ron Wuotila (Canadian), who doesn’t even live here anymore and hasn’t for the past year or more. Why are we paying a guy to live and work in Canada and to do a part-time job for us. There are British people who could do as good if not better jobs than those two….and oh yeah, what the hell…why is he sitting on the Olympic bench!!???
      Warwick Cann (Australian) and his deputy, a Serbian….please convince me that there aren’t British guys who could do the same job as well, if not better.
      What the heck….let’s hire a Canadian nobody to coach the men’s U20 team and ruin it!? (Some nepotism or jingoism…wonder where he came from?!)
      I’ll give you Tom Maher and Ken Shields….just.
      I’ll even give you Chris Finch. But why all the American assistants and support staff?
      THEY ARE NO BETTER THAN WHAT WE HAVE HERE!!!!!!!!!!
      Also, I would argue that given the talent level and the constraints etc that exist here in the sport….there are enough British coaches etc who would have done no worse in terms of results than anything I’ve seen over the past 4 years or so (again, the women’s team perhaps being the exception).
      You can talk all you want about getting in “world class coaches” (whatever that means)….but what good are they going to be with the talent level of player that we can present to them? Have they got some magic potions or a wand that the better British coaches don’t have access to?
      Er, I don’t think so.
      If the players are not good enough then, hello, you ain’t gonna win!

      As for the money which you asked about…yes, indeed where did it get spent? Well we know that, as per usual and with so many other things in this country….because it is not “your” money, then it tends to get wasted….and who cares?
      EB did this many years ago and are still doing it now….with too many staff (doing nothing or very little) and with their pathetic attempts at trying to ‘popularise’ the sport.
      Same for GB….training camps; trips to the US for admin staff to do….nothing worthwhile; air fares etc for foreigners (when British based people could have easily done as good if not a better job).
      Some commentators on this and other message boards have speculated about the Performance admin staff salaries…for what they’ve actually done, they have been probably over-paid, however I believe that the real amounts were not too excessive; and they (the salaries) were certainly not for the coaches.

      A few years ago there was a ‘movement’ led by a certain legendary coach in the Sheffield area and a certain highly successful owner in the North east area, to try to amass the basketball community to attend the AGM of EB to try to force a ‘no confidence’ vote and get rid of the CEO and the Board etc. and to “start again”….of course, this fizzled out and didn’t happen (unfortunately!)…what is it going to take then?
      Something needs to happen…we, in the game, all and always seem to agree on that. The “powers that be” have not and don’t do a good enough job…yet we leave them there….ah, remember @The Mallin Report?’…..I rest my case.

  • Old Naismith

    JohnB…are posts must have crossed!

    “I am not too sure if the fact that we have a GB program does indeed inspire the younger players. Certainly in my own club the kids never mention the GB team, it is almost always talk of NBA. Even during the Olympics the players hardly mentioned the GB games.”

    You are so correct with this observation…I too found this to be the case and I’m sure it is the same in most clubs.

    “The future of any GB program is absolutely dependent on the progress and development of English basketball. Until English basketball starts to provide players that can compete amongst the best in Europe, GB will never deliver.”

    Again, an absolute truism. All our players (past and present) who can TRULY compete with and at the top levels of European basketball have bneen what I call “born in England, made in the USA (or more recently, Spain)”…I could list them for you, but I can’t be bothered.

    name me ONE player who has remained here his whole (basketball) life and who would be able to get a job on one of the better teams in the better leagues in Europe?

    Exactly…..

    We will never be Spain, Serbia, Greece etc. – the game just will never be big enough nor popular enough in this country to really do anything significant.
    All the rhetoric (which we ARE good at, in sport, politics etc in this country!), is just that…it’s all a bunch of media-friendly and Sport England / UK Sport-friendly zeitgeist.

  • Roy

    I have said many times, and indeed for many years, that for the game to “switch on”, (to use the phrase of Hugh Robertson) it is vital that we have a person(s) in charge of the Administration who has vision, an empathy with and for the sport, and can map out and can publish a viable “road plan” for the game,.

    In addition s/he must have not just a strong business acumen but preferably contacts within both business and government, and, as has been somewhat obvious over the past few years, what can best be described as good people skills. (Had the Mallin Report been implemented, all this would have happened)

    Whether the recent changes in the Executive Committee will achieve any of this we can only wait and hope

    With reference to what JohnB has written, I also know from talking to many friends who run various clubs, that the GB team, is an almost non entity with their young players, and that their whole subject matter is the NBA (for better or worse !!!) and getting to play abroad.

    It is arguable if a sport, any sport, should be subsidized by funding, or whether or not it should stand on its own two feet within the market place.

    The fact that because of the lack of development and performance of English basketball and the friction that has ensued between the EB and Sport England, basketball has lost a very considerable amount of funding and if it is to be hoped that this funding will increase in future then there has to be a change in the structure of the EB and a change in some of the professional staff.

    As Old Naismith has written, I wonder how many non Spanish or non Serbian personnel there are in the Spanish or Serbian Administrations.. I know, that there are many suitably qualified people within England who could do an excellent job and who would in addition have the necessary determination to ensure the development of English basketball

    There are so many people throughout the country who are giving their immense (unpaid) time in club administration, club coaching, transporting their players to and from games and so much else, that if the sport was administered and structured in the correct way, basketball would surely just take off exponentially.

    • London2012

      The game can switch on when negativism is kicked out of the sport, people pull together and find better ways to improve at all levels with the clubs being the number 1 priority. The national teams are a great expousure and motivation tool if successful, but the real hotbed for players will always be their local club. The actual fact that so many top basketball people have tried and are stil trying to “help” basketball grow in the UK, people with proven record and much success, and this is still not happening, proves that a lot more has to be done by the basketball community. Positive attitude will be a good start.

  • Adam

    Does this mean that GB is only funded for this year’s Europeans and may still go bust if they don’t do well like get medal or something?

    • Barney

      That seems to be pretty much the case yeah, I would say we will probably have to qualify for the 2014 world champs to be re-awarded funding… and I think that means a top six finish (not sure though)

      • Alex

        http://www.fiba.com/downloads/Regulations/2012/FIBABook2AG.pdf
        Pages 37 and 38. For men 6 teams qualify from Europe plus hosts Spain (if they are in the top 6, the 7th team goes through). For the women is the top 5 plus Turkey, same principle applies if Turkey makes the 1-5th place. Realistically GB will not make it but looking at the last Eurobasket and how far FYROM men and Montenegro and Croatia women went, it is not impossible.

        • dave f

          but the point is that we shouldnt need bottomless funding.

          There is commercial value in what GB do. Better game promotion, TV, vest sales, sponsors etc would all be capable of generating income if done properly. If we dont make top 6 eurobasket and funding is cut or removed it shouldnt be the end. The organisation just needs to be commercially aware.

          • dave f

            After all we are only funding teams for 6-7 weeks each year and the players are generally pros and as such will be having their fitness programs provided for them. The program should be able to run effectively on far less than we spent over the last six years.

            • http://twitter.com/matt_clear Matt

              Surely in order to generate commercial income though you need to be able to pay someone to work on marketing/commercial development. So where does the funding from that job come from?

              • Adam

                You can hire a marketing company and pay them % of the money they bring in. Many federations and clubs do this in the continent and do not pay salaries to people for nothing. As GB did.

  • JerryH

    Spice is gone – fantastic news! Interesting to see who will be the next GB Performance Director.

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