WARDLE ON BRINK OF BE EXIT

Basketball England chair Clare Wardle could tender her resignation on Monday.

The embattled head of the national governing body has been under fire for her role in the self-combustion of the British Basketball Federation, following a cost-cutting plan devised by the three home nations – and a messy takeover battle – which led to the resignation of all but two members of its board.

MVP understands that a group of clubs, corralled by the ex-Basketball England chair and Sheffield Hatters matriarch Betty Codona, convened to draw up a resolution of no confidence in Wardle at England’s forthcoming Annual General Meeting. The rebel cluster have also agreed on an alternative candidate for chair, thought to be a leading figure from within the sport in the UK.

And while Wardle, multiple sources say, is taking the weekend to take soundings and consider her position, a BE board meeting on Monday now seems likely to bring the controversial reign of the Coca Cola executive towards its conclusion.

Sir Rodney Walker, presently the chair of the British Basketball League, is thought to have the backing of senior figures at Sport England to fill Wardle’s shoes but his installation could be blocked by a vote of clubs at the AGM.

Former Manchester United director Maurice Watkins has concurrently emerged as favourite to become the new chair of the BBF, replacing the ousted Ed Warner.

However both the boards of Basketball England and Scotland are facing a mounting backlash following an embarrassing about-turn on their absolutist positions that there must be drastic budget cuts for the Great Britain teams, including the mothballing of the Under-20 programme.

It was that approach which was central to the chaotic clash between the home countries and the executive and board of the British Basketball Federation – and ultimately, the engineering of a takeover through what is now known to have been a mis-application of the BBF’s own articles of association.

Scotland last week claimed to have already consulted some of its clubs about the contentious issue of a levy on its members to pay for the international programme, despite its chair David Davies previously signalling his opposition.

“These meetings with clubs continue,” said Davies. “And they have been hugely beneficial in helping us ensure that we are representing Scotland’s interests in ongoing discussions on both GB finances and the important subject of equality of opportunity for Scottish players and coaches.”

While England earned scorn by asking for “feedback and consultation” from its membership, insisting their previous position that such a levy was a non-starter “is not an imposition”, adding that they may now change tack if “any potential solution is right for both the community game as well as the elite end of the sport.”

Their feedback process concludes on Monday.

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