Funding Fears For British Hoops

02 December 2008

Great Britain basketball could take a hit in its bid to secure its place among the elite countries in European basketball if its funding is cut.

UK Sport is facing a reported shortfall of close to £79million and on Tuesday was expected to decide how they would allocate money as the various sports in the country prepare for the 2012 London Games.

Sports that have a better chance of winning medals at Olympics have traditionally received more funding in the past and if that approach is followed with expected cuts, then British hoops may suffer.

Bill McInnes, a director with British Basketball, said to "We can't do anything about our long-term track record.

"We can only use the performances we have already been able to produce. When we embarked on this, there was a pool of money available to gather the best British players together.

"There was a view within the sport that we could be very competitive, and that's been borne out, particularly on the men's side."

Indeed it has.

Since the awarding of the Olympics to Britain, all sports have received more financial support and one of the outcomes was that British Basketball enjoyed dramatic improvement in the men's national side.

The additional financial resources, some of which had to be used to pay for insurance for Britain's Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng, not only helped Great Britain not only clinch promotion from Division B with Deng and a cast of excellent players, but this summer it helped  the team qualify for EuroBasket 2009 in Poland.

FIBA have yet to confirm if Britain will have spots (men and women) normally reserved for host nations because basketball's world governing body wants to be convinced that British teams will be competitive.

A reduction in funding could undermine British basketball's attempt to put their best team on the floor next summer in Poland when Deng and Co go up against world champions Spain, former world champions Serbia and European powerhouse Slovenia.

"Medals are what's always talked about and three years ago that would have been optimistic," said McInnes, a former Scottish and Great Britain international.

"But not many countries have done what we have in going straight up into the A Division.

"We have a tough task in the European finals next year but if we perform well there, it might show that we will be in contention in the final stages of the Olympics."



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