MPS LOBBIED IN FUNDING BATTLE

Paul Blake 568Basketball chiefs are to step up their bid to reverse the decision to strip Great Britain’s teams of their funding when they meet a group of politicians on Tuesday in London.

Representatives of the game’s governing bodies, plus the British Basketball League, will hold talks with members of the sport’s All-Party Parliamentary Group following questions submitted in the House of Commons last week to Culture Secretary Maria Miller which challenged UK Sport’s plan to remove all financial backing in the run-up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

It is understood that British Basketball officials will appeal the controversial proposal later this month, with FIBA secretary-general Patrick Baumann thought likely to make a personal plea to the government agency to restore some of their support. However a campaign has been stepped up to get MPs on side.

“We’ve had some questions in the Commons and now we’ll sit down with the Parliamentary Group to see what more can be done,“ said BBL chairman Paul Blake.

“And then it’s a case of what we do as a sport collectively over the next few weeks before the meeting with UK Sport. This isn’t just about the national teams. It’s about all of basketball and how it can grow.“

A plan to withhold some of England Basketball’s funding will also be addressed by the group with Sport England set to reduce their investment in a bid to force changes at the governing body. Basketball Scotland will learn its fate next month with Sportscotland likely to fulfil a pledge to maintain its backing despite plans to phase out Scottish international teams in favour of single Great Britain squads.

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