england_basketball_logo_568In a scathing vote of no confidence in England Basketball, Sport England has announced that additional funding for the sport will NOT be going to the governing body, but rather to independent providers.

The public body, which falls under the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, says it’s increasing the overall investment earmarked for basketball — committing an additional £2.3 million between 2013 and 2017 — in recognition of its wide appeal to young people and its ethnically diverse participation base.

But, crucially, it says “Sport England is not confident in England Basketball’s ability to increase the numbers of people playing the sport, so has reduced its investment into the national governing body.”

It will instead invest in other providers, including the British Basketball League Foundation, which will get £1.9m, and Reach and Teach (£418,000) “in a bid to strengthen the marketplace and support alternative ways to get more people playing basketball.”

Minister for Sport Helen Grant had harsh words for EB, saying: “the message to underperforming sports governing bodies is clear – if you can’t deliver, then funding will be taken away and given to projects and people that can.”

On the unprecedented move, Sport England chief executive, Jennie Price, added: “There are some tough messages here for national governing bodies. If they don’t grow participation we will reduce their funding, and we won’t make long term investments until we have confidence in their ability to deliver.

“This is exemplified by our new approach to basketball: increasing our investment to over £9 million, but reducing our reliance on the national governing body and investing more in community organisations with a strong track record of local delivery.”

The news is as a massive blow to England Basketball, whose decision to oust former CEO Keith Mair last summer was understood to have been driven by pressure from Sport England to begin an internal overhaul. His replacement, Huw Morgan, was hailed by EB Chairman, Jan Hagen, as “a senior sports leader that can help us bring basketball to a much bigger stage.”

In a statement, England Basketball said they were “disappointed not to have received more direct investment” but added “we understand that investment decision-making is based on performance during 2013 when we were undergoing significant organisational changes and the sport was managed by a different administration.

“We have been working closely with Sport England over the last year to radically reform our governance and leadership structure.

“We have invested in better understanding of the market place in order to be more effective in meeting the needs of basketball participants. We have developed research-based insights to enable us to reach the informal player; established satellite clubs for young people in inner city areas; and built strong relationships with local authority operators like the Greenwich Leisure Ltd who want to promote basketball to more people.

“We are confident that our initiatives will realise even more participants and enable greater numbers of young talent to achieve their potential. ”


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