SPICE OUT AS BASKETBALL PERFORMANCE CHIEF

BOA Announcement Regarding Basketball's Place at the 2012 OlympicsBritish Basketball’s performance director Chris Spice is to leave the organisation and join British Swimming in a similar role.

It comes just days after the sport was pulled back from the brink of a funding crisis when UK Sport agreed to finance the national teams for at least one more year.

The Australian (above right), whose contract is understood to have been due to expire in March, had been under criticism from senior figures within basketball for GB’s poor showing at last summer’s Olympic Games, and for his role in the initial failure to secure financial support.

Outgoing men’s coach Chris Finch admitted his bafflement at the presence of performance staff – including Spice – on the bench at London 2012 while cultural clashes behind the scenes were thought to have made his position untenable.

However with the level of funding still uncertain, Spice has now opted to jump ship to take up a performance role at swimming, beginning in April.

“Personnel changes occur constantly in all organisations and the key is to use it as an opportunity to kick on to greater things. British Basketball will be no exception,” said chairman Roger Moreland.

“We aspire to win medals consistently in international championships in the future and we are focussed on making that aspiration a reality. We know how important a performance focus is to UK Sport as well and we want to justify the faith they have had in our sport.

“Following last week’s funding decision, we will be wasting no time in our pursuit of the very best Head Coaches to take the GB teams into their respective EuroBaskets this summer.”

The appointments process for all four head coaching jobs at senior and Under-20 level is due to re-start soon with discussions slated to take place with UK Sport over the next seven days to assess exactly how much funding British Basketball will receive.

It is thought that performance manager Ron Wuotila, who has been working out of Canada rather than the UK, will not have his tenure extended.

“We will also be looking at how we will replace Chris and will work closely with UK Sport to ensure we are as well positioned as we possibly can be to deal with the challenges ahead,” Moreland said.

UK Sport’s Performance Director, Simon Timson, declared that BB will get help to identify a successor with the necessary skills to lead the sport through to 2016 – and perhaps beyond.

“It is important to have a real focus on performance in any sport to achieve international success,” he said.

“British Basketball has moved from the backwaters of the international game to compete with the very best in the sport. Their task now is to win consistently in competition against the very best and we will work closely with British Basketball to support their efforts to maintain and enhance the focus they have on raising the level of performance through putting in place the best possible people to lead their drive for Rio.”

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