FUNDING LIFELINE THROWN AT BASKETBALL

British Basketball has been thrown a lifeline by the government with a half-million pot of cash to haul the governing body back from the brink.

MVP has learnt that, in a highly-unusual move, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has authorised the funding to prop up the  sport and ensure that Great Britain’s men can fulfil their World Cup qualifying fixtures next month before the junior national teams proceed into this summer’s European Championships.

The pot of money comes with huge strings attached: £190,000 will be released next week but the remainder will be handed to UK Sport to distribute only when the governance of basketball in Britain is deemed fit for purpose with demands that a plan for action – involving the home countries, the BBL and the British Basketball Federation – is agreed and implemented.

“It will only be released,” officials confirmed, “if British Basketball can demonstrate a sustainable financial plan to support its athletes going forward.

“This includes the sport agreeing an effective governance structure, including ongoing compliance with the Code for Sports Governance, and production of commercially sustainable financial plans. In addition the sport will have to evidence the inspirational social impact of this investment to capitalise on the sport’s unique reach into young, urban and diverse communities.”

The reading is that basketball – across Britain – is on the shortest of leashes.

“At the request of Government, UK Sport has worked to support British Basketball in finding a solution that will enable athletes to compete in world level events this year,” UK Sport Chief Executive Liz Nicholl said. “It is disappointing that British Basketball has found itself in this situation, faced with significant financial challenges, but it is important that we put the athletes first so we are pleased to step in to manage this one-off support package for the sport.

“It is vital British Basketball now demonstrates it can clearly deliver on its commitments and use the impact of its national teams to inspire participation, pride and wellbeing across the country, particularly in communities that it has a unique ability to reach. It is also a priority that the sport works together as a collective to reach agreement on the creation of a sustainable business model that will support its athletes before any further ring-fenced funding support can be provided.”

Warner, who attended last weekend’s BBL Playoff finals as part of his extensive initial fact-finding mission, will now bid to broke peace following the talks with Crouch that led to this unique deal.

“A lot of work has been undertaken with UK Sport and others to get us to this point, and I am confident they understand the direction of travel for GB Basketball to help ensure an even more coherent commercial and pathway structure for the sport,” he said. “There is still a lot more work to do to ensure long-term sustainability for elite Basketball in Britain, but today’s news is very welcome.”

 

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