Basketball could get a funding lift in Scotland with the strategy of funding individual athletes from the public purse is set for a review following the Commonwealth Games, with Institute of Sport chief executive Mike Whittingham revealing that team sports may get extra backing in a bid to raise the levels of participation.
It comes in the wake of criticism of UK Sport’s confirmation that it will axe Lottery backing for the likes of basketball and volleyball due to a lack of Olympic medal potential despite the high numbers of people taking part.
Sportscotland currently use £14m of its £74 annual budget on elite performers but with team sports calling for extra money, Whittingham has hinted at a switch in emphasis from 2015.
“They are expensive but they are really important to us,” he said. “If you look at women’s football, at netball, basketball and rugby sevens, we probably need to have another look at how we fund those because we need to find a link between participation and performance. There shouldn’t be a gap.
“In some sports, we have a very small membership, like Nordic skiing for example. We don’t have a huge number so we can fund a small programme. With an exciting sport like basketball, we will take our time before we make a decision. So even though UK Sport have taken their route, it doesn’t mean we have to follow.”
Basketball has been deemed the biggest loser within the London-based agency’s no compromise stance with calls to address a perceived lack of coherence in the strategic approach to delver sporting success with UK Sport charged only with Olympic and Paralympic success, the four home nation sports councils largely targeting grassroots development, but with a gulf in between.
“I can understand why UK Sport do what they do in terms of saying they don’t have the resources to win medals in every sport,” Whittingham adds. “It’s tough on basketball. But from our point of view, we won’t make our decisions in terms of basketball for 2016 until post-Glasgow. And it could well be that we review things and we’re more adaptable.”
Basketball will return to the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast in 2018.
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