CRUNCH TALKS TO BREAK BASKETBALL IMPASSE

The chairs of the home nations and British Basketball Federation will meet on Thursday to try and stave off the crisis in the sport.

It comes ahead of an emergency board meeting of the BBF on Friday at which the two sides are under pressure to agree a deal to present to UK Sport next week which provides a sustainable agreement to govern basketball in Britain as well as running the national teams.

With a deadline now looming, a pact will be needed quickly if the full £500,000 package of support offered by the government is to be obtained.

Chief among the concerns from Basketball England, Scotland and Wales is understood to be the financial viability of the BBF’s preferred proposal which is centred around an operational link with the British Basketball League.

With the half-million injection, the BBF is projected to achieve a surplus of £89,856 in 2018-19 but a loss of £220,000 in 2019-20, all in the wake in reducing a proposal financial contribution from the three home nation bodies to £145,000.

Federation bosses insist that shortfall can be wiped out by improved commercial income, despite a long-term failure to bring in significant sponsorship funds which some have attributed to the lack of coherence between the GB teams, BBL and grassroots which might offer something attractive to potential backers.

Breaking the current deadlock will, sources say, hinge on persuading the home nations to soften their stance and take a leap of faith on an organisation that is still fighting the stigma associated with its pre-2016 predecessor, British Performance Basketball, which is seen to have squandered the huge sums which were provided to prepare Great Britain’s teams in the lead-up to the London 2012 Olympics Games.

It is thought a section of the Basketball England board are unhappy with their governing body’s rigid stance with prominent referee John Letizia believed to have voted against the deal on the table.

The nuclear option which could be taken on Friday is to call an Extraordinary General Meeting of the BBF at which its constitution could be altered to fit with the home nations current wish for a direct contract between all three to oversee the sport.

FIBA could yet be brought in as intermediaries. Through a spokesperson, the global governing body declined comment on the situation.

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