BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Luol Deng's plea to British PM David Cameron has assisted in quelling proposed cuts to British Basketball|
UK Sport, the British government's agency in charge of distributing funds from the lottery budget to sport federations in the country, has partially reverted a previous decision to slash funding to British Basketball.
Initially, British Basketball will receive funding up to EuroBasket Women 2013 and EuroBasket 2013, on a conditional basis.
The U-turn follows a UK Sport Board meeting on Wednesday, during which British Basketball and five more federations of sports affected by the cuts announced in December, were allowed to present their case against the initial decision.
Only the delegations of the Basketball and Wheelchair Fencing Federations were successful in convincing the UK Sport Board. Volleyball amongst others was the notable loser, who will definitely not receive any funding until at least 2016.
"The following three years' funding (will be) released only on the fulfillment of strict performance criteria," said UK Sport in a statement issued on Friday, to stress that funding for the entire Olympic cycle, until Rio 2016, is still not secure.
"The exact amount of investment to be awarded to these sports will be determined through further dialogue with the two sports in the coming weeks," it added.
The development came only days after Great Britain superstar Luol Deng wrote to British Prime Minister David Cameron, pleading with him to use his influence to reverse the decision.
In his emotional and well-documented plea, the Chicago Bulls small forward insisted on the consequences that slashing funding to a wide-reach sport like basketball would have on young people and the future of British society in general.
Roger Moreland, British Basketball's Performance Chairman was relieved following the decision reversal.
"We are absolutely delighted with the decision of UK Sport today," he said.
"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 (the Olympics in) 2020.
"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 seven years as well as our position globally.
British Basketball and UK Sport will still have to work out the details and how the exact form funding will come into effect, but Great Britain's participation in this summer's EuroBaskets, both men's and women's, is now secure.
"This is a momentous day for British Basketball and everyone who is connected with the sport, whether as players, fans or officials," Moreland concluded.