CLARK FEARS FOR GB FUTURE

Mark Clark claims the home nations takeover of domestic basketball will strip the Great Britain teams of any ambition.

The ex-GB Women’s head coach was one of seven directors to resign from the British Basketball Federation’s board on Friday in what he called the “saddest day” of his career.

Clark, who has served as performance director, confirmed he will remain in his operational post until the end of this summer’s European Championships to provide support to the country’s under-age squads.

However MVP has learnt that a number of GB’s senior players are considering whether to retire from international duty in protest at the manner in which Basketball England, Scotland and Wales have pushed through a cost-cutting plan which they see is necessary to achieve some financial stability.

It has emerged that the senior teams opted last year to decline their contracted appearance fees and per diems so that the extra cash could go towards putting additional resources into the junior sides.

And Clark believes the wrestle for control has caused huge damage to the national team programme which will still be felt in the longer term.

He said: “The sport needs to take a look at itself and find answers but I don’t see that happening. And the people who are struggling are the players not those who are now running it.”

“I can’t sit on a board when the stated objective now is to make it impossible for those teams to prepare properly,” he added. “We’ve already had the mindset of trying to reduce the size of the squads coming to training camp or cutting the preparation but that was the bare minimum.

“Now you’ll have a level of funding proposed where you might not be able to bring players in from outside the country. You have the costs of insurance as a real issue. You have national teams all year round so you might now have to debate whether you can afford to bring in Temi Fagbenle or Jo Leedham but not both.

“I’m not sure what GB can do now with that level of funding. Maybe it’s better that the money goes to another sport with some ambition.”

A British Basketball source has revealed that, prior to their public statement in Glasgow last Monday, the players sent a joint letter to Basketball England chair Clare Wardle to plead their case.

“We never got a reply,” one senior international confirmed.

And Clark said: “To ignore that your senior teams have said something and not responded is disrespectful.”

Former England international Steve Nelson, whose son Luke is current member of the GB team, joined the criticism of the very public spat.

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