- National Teams
UK Sport have upheld their initial decision to cut British Basketball’s funding to zero, following the federation’s informal representation to the funding body earlier this month.
British Basketball called the decision ‘very disappointing’ but remain undecided on whether they will now make a formal appeal to an independent resolutions board.
In a statement released on British Basketball’s website, Roger Moreland, Performance Chairman, said:
“We are very grateful to the widespread support we have received from inside and outside the sport. It has shown a home-grown passion for basketball in this country and a desire to see GB teams succeed further.
“The players and staff deserve the utmost credit for their achievements and we thank them for their efforts. Today’s decision does not hide the fact that we are immensely proud of their success over the last seven years; and there will be more to come.
“The vigorous debate on how we fund elite sport in this country has identified a gap in the funding system, which can particularly affect team sports. Winning medals now and in the future should be celebrated, but we need to consider its impact. Basketball has a grassroots base bigger than any other British Olympic team sport. A funding system with nearly £350 million pounds available for elite sport cannot be working to the best of its ability, if it can leave sports like basketball behind.
“If there is the political will and the leadership, a solution can be found. Other countries have done so”
“We are still planning for success this summer and in the short term, our focus has to be on backing our teams as much as we possibly can, so they can do their jobs on the court. We are still on the road to Rio and the next step is to qualify for EuroBasket 2015.”
The real-world detailed implications of British Basketball having no funding remain unclear, but the programme will be forced to tighten the purse strings and run the U20s and senior programmes on a drastically reduced budget in comparison to previous years.
Weightlifting was the only sport to have its funding reinstated, after presenting a new performance strategy targeting resources on their best female athletes, whilst badminton had a podium place re-instated.
Basketball joins goalball, synchronised swimming, visually-impaired football, women’s water polo and wheelchair fencing as having the initial decision to be removed from the World Class Programme upheld.
“For the sports that are not yet at the level that we can continue to fund them it’s important to recognise the vast majority of them do still benefit from other sources of considerable public funding driving participation and improving talent development through the Home Country Sports Councils,” said Chair of UK Sport, Rodd Carr.
“I accept that by its very nature ‘No Compromise’ is not universally popular but there’s one thing we are sure of – it works. The recent outstanding successes at the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games demonstrated once again that investing the right money, in the right athletes, for the right reasons, is a winning formula.”
“These are tough calls to make and we know that it is even tougher for the sports and athletes directly affected by funding withdrawal,” added UK Sport CEO, Liz Nicholl.
“All of these sports know that they have the opportunity to come back to us at the annual review stage each Autumn to make a case for future funding if they can demonstrate a realistic opportunity to win a medal within the next two Olympic or Paralympic cycles.
“We will also work with these sports that are now not funded for the Rio cycle to help manage this transition, and shape their future plans.”