England Basketball and Basketball Scotland have voted to give up their independent status and join forces in a new federal structure for the sport.
The move ensures that a single Great Britain team will continue beyond the 2012 Olympics as part of a revamped set-up that is likely to see the British Basketball League and a new women’s league come under a single umbrella with the new governing body.
FIBA has backed the merger despite a decision by Wales to reject proposals that would see all the home nations retain autonomy over grassroots development. However the joint plan will now go forward to UK Sport for final approval.
“Beyond 2016, England Basketball as an entity will still exist, and will still have a relationship with FIBA through the affiliation of the BBF,” said EB chairman Terry Donovan.
“At its meeting in Sheffield on Friday 4 May 2012, the Board of England Basketball made the decision to support the proposals for a British Basketball membership of FIBA beyond 2016, and recommend to the membership that the English Basketball Association resign its membership of FIBA as per the agreed schedule. A process of consultation with members was undertaken in late May/early June, the result of which was 95% in favour of the Board’s recommendation.”
Under the agreement, England and Scotland would stop competing separately in official competitions from 2016 onwards although an exemption has been granted to field national teams at Under 16 level until 2020. The home nations would also enter their own sides at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Queensland.
“We all took our decisions independently,” admitted Basketball Scotland chief executive Kevin Pringle.
“But we felt that going down the British Basketball route is the best for Scotland and for the future of the sport. And FIBA have said they’re comfortable with us and England coming together.”
There is now likely to be a further period of consultation with UK Sport on recognising the new organisation as well as securing its funding. While the thorny issue of Wales’ ongoing status must be determined by FIBA.
“It is clear to me that basketballscotland has undergone a thorough process,” Patrick Baumann, Secretary General of FIBA, said: “They have continually pushed to ensure that the best interests of Scottish Basketball are protected and asked considered and thought provoking questions throughout the process.
“I believe that basketballscotland’s decision will accelerate the development of the sport in Scotland and FIBA will support that however we can.”
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