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Former interim Chair of the British Basketball Federation, Ed Warner, has lambasted the Home Country Associations (HCAs) over their recent dispute that led to all BBF Independent Directors resigning from their posts.
In an interview with isportconnect, Warner said the politics are “even worse” than he imagined coming in, calling for new Chairs and boards of the HCAs after ‘terrible behaviour’ and management, wanting to see government intervention and questioning whether people are in it for personal means or the good of the sport.
Hired in May to help sort out the BBF’s struggles, Warner and the BBF could not come to an agreement with the HCAs on a governance structure or financial plan moving forward, leading to the HCAs effectively performing a takeover of the BBF and stripping it of its powers.
Both Basketball England and basketballscotland Chairs have released statements defending their actions this week, which can be read here and here, saying the BBF ‘has been out of touch with financial realities and the circumstances of the membership of players and associations that the BBF exists to serve’, adding they do not want to essentially tax the grass roots to fund the elite end of the sport.
Watch the full interview with Ed Warner above, or read the transcript below:
“Before I took on the role as GB Basketball Chair, people said to me ‘are you aware just how terrible the politics are in this sport’ and I guess I couldn’t have been aware until I got in.
“And what I discovered was the three home countries in basketball in the UK; England, Scotland and Wales, really had no interest in GB teams and were starving British basketball of money.
“I spent two months with my fellow independent directors trying to hammer home a compromise such that GB teams could be properly supported and there be a shirt that we could all be proud of but I just couldn’t do that.
“Effectively in the end they pulled the rug from under us and all seven of us resigned. I hope that in resigning we’ve highlighted just the terrible behaviour that we are seeing in this sport and how poorly it’s governed.
“Really I hope there’s going to be some change within England, Scotland and Wales. They need new Chairs, they need new boards, they need a new outlook on life because this sport is really deserving.
“You’ve got urban, inner city enthusiasm for it, you’ve got mass participation, second only to football as a team sport in the UK and it’s not being served properly at the top.
“I did my best for two weeks and maybe it was even worse than I thought it could have been. Everybody told me it was and they were right.
“I think it’s in a really terrible state because as I say, those three home nations are just not supporting British teams in the way that they should. I hope there will be a proper review of governance, I hope that government will step in, I hope UK Sport will step in, and Sport England too and really demand some answers from some very terrible management from those home nations.
“For example, the Chair of Basketball England is a lawyer at Coca Cola, the Chair of basketballscotland works for Live nation, those are two great, great companies but it doesn’t mean they are great people or great sports administrators and I really do think they have to be called to account and there really must be some change.
“Otherwise, the sport, which is hugely deserving of there being British teams everyone can be proud of, just won’t have those teams.
“I think that everybody should look in the mirror and ask themselves what they are in it for, are they in it for the good of the nation and the good of the sport, or are they in it for personal means and I fear at the moment people are in it for the wrong purposes.”
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