Great Britain v Australia Van Osstrum 568British Basketball has failed in its appeal against UK Sport’s decision to strip the sport of its Lottery funding, it has been confirmed.

The move, which was widely anticipated, means that the Great Britain teams will now proceed with plans to operate on a much-reduced budget with the performance body also set to continue its in-house cutbacks.

There is a further appeal stage available to British Basketball, who have yet to decide whether to take its case to an arbitration panel.

But with UK Sport following its own ‘no compromise’ guidelines, it is a route which is unlikely to bring a change of heart with the original move credited to a failure to demonstrate the potential for Olympic success in 2016 or 2020.

“The vigorous debate on how we fund elite sport in this country has identified a gap in the funding system, which can particularly affect team sports,” said BB chairman Roger Moreland.

“Winning medals now and in the future should be celebrated, but we need to consider its impact. Basketball has a grassroots base bigger than any other British Olympic team sport. A funding system with nearly £350 million pounds available for elite sport cannot be working to the best of its ability, if it can leave sports like basketball behind.

“If there is the political will and the leadership, a solution can be found. Other countries have done so.”

Following recent discussions, weightlifting has been reinstated on to the World Class Programme after presenting a new performance strategy targeting resources on their best female athletes while badminton has had a Podium place re-instated. The decision to withdraw funding from basketball, plus Goalball, Synchronised Swimming, Visually-Impaired Football, Water-Polo (Women) and Wheelchair Fencing, will stand.

“Weightlifting came back to us with a compelling new strategy focussed on developing their most talented female athletes with a view to challenging for medals by Tokyo 2020,” said UK Sport chairman Rodd Carr.

“For the sports that are not yet at the level that we can continue to fund them it’s important to recognise the vast majority of them do still benefit from other sources of considerable public funding driving participation and improving talent development through the Home Country Sports Councils.

“I accept that by its very nature ‘No Compromise’ is not universally popular but there’s one thing we are sure of – it works. The recent outstanding successes at the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games demonstrated once again that investing the right money, in the right athletes, for the right reasons, is a winning formula.”

Yet without a reversal, a huge debate on the medals-only focus on the governmental agency is set to continue with criticism from a number of key figures over an apparent failure to forge some link between basketball’s high levels of participation with a degree of backing for an international programme.

A petition to Number 10, calling for a change of heart, attracted over 2000 signatories but to no avail.

The outcome of the representation process means there are now 20 Olympic and 17 Paralympic Summer sports receiving investment for the Rio cycle with the goal to achieve what no host nation has done before and win more Olympic and Paralympic medals in the next games.

Liz Nicholl, Chief Executive of UK Sport, said: “If the nation values sporting success we can deliver it, but only if we remain focussed, as the Olympic and Paralympic environment is becoming increasingly competitive. I am confident our approach will continue to deliver more wonderful moments to inspire the nation.

“These are tough calls to make and we know that it is even tougher for the sports and athletes directly affected by funding withdrawal. All of these sports know that they have the opportunity to come back to us at the annual review stage each Autumn to make a case for future funding if they can demonstrate a realistic opportunity to win a medal within the next two Olympic or Paralympic cycles.

“We will also work with these sports that are now not funded for the Rio cycle to help manage this transition, and shape their future plans.”

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