British Basketball Left Without Funding

04 February 2014
5. Andrew Lawrence (Great Britain), 7. Devon Van Oostrum (Great Britain), 11. Alasdair Fraser (Great Britain), 14. Eric Boateng (Great Britain)
British Basketball learned on Tuesday that their funding for the future has been cut by the British Government

The worst fears of British Basketball were confirmed on Tuesday as government authority UK Sport announced a decision to eliminate funding to the second most-popular sport worldwide.

The immediate consequence of the announcement is that neither the men's nor the women's programme of British Basketball will receive any funds until at least 2016.

UK Sport, which is the British government's agency in charge of distributing funds from the lottery budget to sport federations in the country, has decided instead to focus on sports that, in its judgement, have better medal prospects at the Olympic Games in Rio.

According to data presented by British Basketball to support the sport's rising trend in the United Kingdom, 70% of active basketball players in the country are under the age of 25, while approximately 50% come from ethnic minorities.

In turn, individual sports such as Archery, Canoeing, Diving, Equestrian, Judo and Taekwondo have all received funding up until Rio 2016.

"There is a gap in the system and that system needs to change, otherwise there is no hope to realise legitimate aspiration for those sports that are not already at the table," a disappointed Roger Moreland, British Basketball's Performance Chairman, said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The system is not like a tap. To work effectively, it cannot be turned on and off and still produce players and coaches to succeed in future Olympic Games or World Championships.

"The basketball community at home and abroad will be aghast that this can happen again.

The Tuesday decision did not come as a complete shock to the basketball community, as UK Sport had first announced their intention to slash funding with the start of 2013.

The agency reverted its decision in February last year and thanks to that lifeline, which proved temporary, the Great Britain national teams were able to fund their participation at EuroBasket Women in June and EuroBasket in September.

"It seems every barrier to progress for basketball originates in Britain; the very country that should be embracing the progress its basketball teams have achieved," said Moreland.

"UK Sport decided not to fund basketball in December 2012 and have done so again. As we asked then, we ask again - what price a legacy from 2012?

Kieron Achara (Great Britain), Viacheslav Kravtsov (Ukraine)
"'The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it'" - Great Britain co-captain Kieron Achara on learning of the funding cuts

"We are still on the road to Rio but we now have to qualify for EuroBasket 2015 with our hands tied behind our back."

On Monday, Great Britain were drawn in Group A of the EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualification Round, together with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iceland.

Speaking before UK Sport's decision, Great Britain co-captain Kieron Achara was optimistic about his team's chances.

"We've always been underdogs - it's just the way it is," Achara said.

"To go into games, you have to believe you are the best and make sure that you prove it.

"As an underdog team, we are always hungry to go and beat teams who were deemed better than us."

British basketball however will now have to fight a different kind of battle, away from the basketball court, before the EuroBasket 2nd Qualification Round tips off in August.

"Disappointed in the decision but 'The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it'. You can't put a price on PRIDE and Motivation," Achara commented on social network Twitter immediately after the announcement on Tuesday.



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