UK 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.