Basketball in the UK must come up with a new plan if it wants to get Lottery funding, UK Sport’s former chair Dame Sue Campbell has insisted.
It must be medals or nothing, argues the one-time netball player, and British Basketball’s failure to make a case they can deliver Olympic achievement by 2020 undermines their pleas.
It was confirmed on Wednesday that the sport has failed in its appeal for reinstatement onto the list of Olympic sports receiving performance cash.
And despite a rise up the FIBA rankings, Campbell claims not enough progress has been made to justify the expense.
“As a bank manager, would you give them money? No, you wouldn’t,” Campbell, speaking before the appeal announcements, said. “You’d say go away and focus on developing talent, get your coaches better, get your competitive structure better, get more kids playing, and when you’ve enough talent coming through the system that, with eight years of funding, you might potentially qualify, then come and knock on our door again.
“How can you justify spending public money on teams and sports that don’t have a sufficient structure, participation base and coaching?”
The argument has been made that a top-class international team is needed to provide a point of aspiration for the UK’s young players. It is a hollow plea, Campbell declares. A bottom-up examination must be undertaken, she says, before British Basketball get to tap into the funding well again.
“Yes, you have to have good competition,” she states. “But where is their talent base? Don’t point to a bloke in America or in Russia. Because inspiration doesn’t win a medal. To say that they can’t fund an international team is a nonsense. What they can’t fund is buying out this guy from his American club to come and play. That’s a whole different thing.
“But should we perhaps have our academy established on an American university. Put all the best British players there, having them play at a college level until they get close. You can’t keep doing what you’ve always done.”
The arguments have been countered by British Basketball’s chairman Roger Moreland who has led the political campaign against the win-at-all-costs strategy. And he has vowed that Great Britain’s teams will press on, regardless of their funding axe.
“We are still planning for success this summer and in the short term, our focus has to be on backing our teams as much as we possibly can, so they can do their jobs on the court,” he said.
“We are still on the road to Rio and the next step is to qualify for EuroBasket 2015.”
Photo by Mansoor Ahmed/Ahmedphotos
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