FIBA secretary-general Patrick Baumann says next Sunday will be “most important” moment in the history of British basketball.

Baumann – along with FIBA president Yves Mainini – met several key figures within the sport in the UK during a two-day visit to London which coincided with the BBL Trophy final at The 02 Arena, as well as two NBA regular season games in the capital.

Their trip comes ahead of the vote in Lyon which will decide whether Great Britain’s men and women get an automatic spot at the 2012 Olympics.

It is understood that proposals were unveiled to give basketball a permanent base in London, including a British Basketball League team, at the venue which will be utilised initially for the handball competition at the Games.

And while Baumann remains reluctant to declare his own hand, he concedes strides have been made as UK authorities attempt to convince the governing body that there will be a positive effect if Team GB is waved through.

“We strongly believe that the GB teams could become powerhouses of world basketball if the right measures are put in place for the future development of the game,” he said. 

“According to our surveys, basketball is one of the most popular sports among youngsters in the UK and there now needs to a robust legacy plan to capture and retain this passion and enthusiasm and take the game onto the next level once the 2012 Olympics are over.

“We want to ensure that the 2012 competition is the best in Olympic history but also that basketball can progress from the wings to the centre stage of British sport. For that reason, the Central Board decision is the most important in the history of basketball in the UK.”


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