CASH DRIVING NATIONS PLAN B

The home nations’ plan to re-draw the picture of British basketball is driven by one thing.

Money.

Not a search for a pot of gold but fears that anything other than a minimalist approach to running the sport could end in financial ruin.

MVP has obtained a leaked copy of the controversial proposal which was backed by a majority of Basketball England’s board last Friday despite some internal vocal dissention and the absence of at least one key figure from the conference call.

The key points of the working paper, thought to have been authored chiefly by Keith Mair, the former BE chief executive who now represents Basketball Wales and who has been earmarked to take over as Secretary-General if the revamp goes through, are unlikely to assuage its critics within the British Basketball Federation who remain in favour of a closer tie-up with the BBL as a means to take the sport forward.

In response from a directive from UK Sport and the Sports Minister to find a “sustainable solution for British Basketball going forward,’ the propsal reveals that the home country chairs from England, Scotland and Wales that they have held “extensive conversations with hockey” who run a performance model in which the English governing body effectively doubles as the UK one.

Although it has been painted as a model for discussion, the trio say they have already “established a transition plan to move from the current model to the new model to ensure business continuity and servicing of those affected by the change.”

In addition, their proposal insists it provides reassure that they can create:

– A more financially sustainable model to operate the BBF as an entity.

– A two-year financial forecast by which we can have GB teams competing and fulfil the obligations we have to FIBA and our funders.

– A unified structure which includes engaging our BBL/WBBL partners, which means we will have more clarity on our shared goals and a greater ability to leverage commercial funding.

– A transition plan to ensure we maintain business continuity.

It proposes a structure that would see the BBF have only the “minimum overhead required to fulfil its performance and administrative responsibilities” with each home nation to be involve in GB selection and preparation based around a “binding business and performance agreement.”

A secretary-general and GB performance manager, each employed two days per week along side a full-time administrator, would still be co-located within the BBL with other economies of scale and joint working to be explored.

It provides a total budget for salaries and expenses at £67.500 per year from September 1 with an aim of raising £75,000 of commercial income in 2018-19. As MVP previously revealed, it is also based on pulling the men’s and women’s Under-20 teams out of European competition from 2019-20.

It envisages the spending on the senior men’s programme dropping from £261,260 to £80,000 with cuts for every team other than GB senior women who are earmarked for a £50,000 raise, enough to cope with a larger number of fixtures but likely insufficient for extended training camps as in the past.

One source close to the discussions explained the rationale. “It’s about finances and money, pure and simple. It’s mean to be a realistic pragmatic proposal.”

The BBF, led by its chair Ed Warner, remains resolutely against the deal on offer, as are Great Britain’s players who issued a strongly-worded statement following their World Cup defeat to Israel in Glasgow on Monday.

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch, who personally secured a £500,000 bailout from the Treasury last month to underwrite the sport, is understood to have told officials that an ability to broker peace would be seen as a failure on the part of those involved.

Significantly, the clock is now ticking. “They have sent the proposal to us and we have to respond to it,” Warner revealed. “UK Sport have effectively set a deadline of next week to resolve everything.”

An emergency board meeting of the BBF has been called for this Friday with the possibility Basketball England, Scotland and Wales could invoke the federation’s rule book and call an Extraordinary General Meeting to alter its constitution and push through their wishes.

Although BE chair Clare Wardle, an executive at Coca Cola Europe, is thought to have hardened her position despite the high-profile player rebellion, one senior figure within the Manchester-based body has hinted there may be some internal resistance growing to her stance with Nicky Shaw, who sits on the boards of both the BBF and England, set to emerge as a key figure in achieving some agreement.

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