- National Teams
Sport England today announced £6.75 million has been committed to get more people to play basketball until 2017, but almost half of that sum will be held back unless England Basketball can prove their initiatives are working.
Declaring close to half a billion pounds worth of investment into sport over the next four years, Sport England announced allocations for a number of different sporting bodies, but once again, basketball remains underfunded in relation to other sports.
A one-year investment of £815,000 will allow England Basketball to test its two pronged approach to getting more people playing the game; IM Basketball, that seeks to keep 14-25 year olds playing the game, and Ball Again, focusing on stopping players leaving the sport as they get old.
If England Basketball is able to prove that these initiatives are working, then further funding worth a total of £3.3 million will be released on a year-by-year basis. Annual targets based on the results of the Active People Survey will be agreed with Sport England.
“The track record of swimming, tennis and basketball has led Sport England’s Board to make only one-year investments for participation in those sports,” Sport England said in a statement on their website. “This will give the governing bodies the chance to demonstrate that they can succeed.”
Should England Basketball fail, the money will be made available to the organisations that can promote participation in other sports.
“For the first time we have created a specific fund to reward success by NGBs who prove they can grow their sports. This is about backing winners,” commented Sport England’s Chief Executive, Jennie Price. “Investment in this scale from the public purse is a big responsibility for the sector as a whole, and we are committed to a tough but fair approach of payment for results. We are determined to get good value for every pound of this funding.”
In a to-the-point statement released on England Basketball’s website today, the national governing body pointed to the actual and potential funding received being an 11% increase. CEO Keith Mair said he:
“appreciates the increase in year one funding from Sport England and acknowledges the ensuing year-on-year challenge to sustain and/or increase participation numbers.”
A four-year investment of £1.2m into satellite clubs will help move young people into formal club basketball. Over the last four years, England Basketball successfully worked with Street Games and Premier League 4 Sport to significantly increase the number of satellite and community clubs offering basketball. Funding for the next four years will help the governing body provide a sustainable network of accredited clubs and organisations.
Sport England’s investment includes four-year funding of £1.54m to support elite level basketball players. It will be used to enhance the quality of local and regional programmes, Regional Institute’s of Basketball as well as national development teams.
Sport England’s Director of Sport, Phil Smith said:
“The basketball market is dominated by strong brands and we believe there is untapped potential out there. Over the last four years, England Basketball has shown us it can successfully develop clubs and talent – we want it to continue that work at the same time as increasing the number of people enjoying the informal versions of the game.”
Meanwhile, British Wheelchair Basketball was one of the big winners with the announcement, with a big increase in investment for the next four years, having doubled participation numbers over the last funding period.
An announcement from UK sport about the next cycle of funding for British Performance Basketball is expected this week.