So much for Olympic legacy. Less than a month after Great Britain was awarded a spot at London 2012, Basketball Wales has had its funding reduced to zero in a hammer blow for the sport in the Principality.

And officials are calling for a review of the decision, claiming that the government quango has “moved the funding goal posts and have themselves stopped BW developing our game to its true potential capacity.”

In a letter, seen by MVP, from Sport Wales to the governing body, it is stated that no resources will be made available for Welsh teams to compete internationally, on the grounds that “elite basketball is not currently a priority.”

With a number of national sides set to compete in the next round of European Championships, the move is likely to stretch the finances of Basketball Wales to the limit.

In the 2009-10 financial year, the body had received just £18,500 from Sport Wales’ annual development budget of  £4,627,000, a fraction of the £1.35m to be received by England Basketball, despite recent cuts, and the £300,000 by Basketball Scotland over the next 12 months.

Basketball Wales officials claim that its number of registered members has almost doubled over the past three years, while also initiating a new schools tournament involving over 180 teams in the region.

And, in a statement, the organisation warned of inevitable cutbacks in all areas of the game.

“As a direct result of this decision taken by Sport Wales, BW will have no funding to operate and this will have a detrimental effect on the future development of our sport in Wales at grassroots, Schools, Club and International level.

“As some of you may be aware, three years ago Sport Wales dictated that the board of BW appoint a CEO (on a 3 year contract), only to have the funding for that position withdrawn after 1 year, giving us no explanation or reason as to why this funding was taken from us leaving the board in a very awkward position.”

Critics will point to the absence of a professional team in the Principality and the lack of players currently within the Team GB set-up, while also citing basketball’s relative invisibility since the demise of leading women’s club Rhondda Rebels.

"We have had discussion with Basketball Wales over a number of years about their role in developing the sport," said a Sports Wales spokesperson.

"At present, we believe that Basketball Wales lacks the capacity to meet the demands evidenced on the ground. Whilst we will not be funding the governing body directly we will be continuing to fund the sport through our programmes and partnerships at a local level.
"We will continue to provide advice and guidance to Basketball Wales in developing their governance structures and procedures. We have offered to meet with the board of Basketball Wales to discuss these issues and look forward to the opportunity to have these discussions.”

However with the burden of developing the game now being placed on the financially-constrained local authorities, basketball’s hopes of making net gains against the dominance of rugby union and football have been severely damaged.

And with FIBA calling for a single British governing body – and national team – Welsh basketball might be faced with a choice of merger or effective oblivion.

FIBA launch attack on England's funding cuts

Sport England's decision to chop £1.2 million off their planned funding to England Basketball has come under fire from FIBA's secretary-general.

MVP has obtained a copy of a letter sent from Patrick Baumann to Jennie Price, the CEO of the English sports council, criticising the fairness of a decision which was attributed to a decrease in participation.

Basketball's main powerbroker accused Brice of interference in the administration of the governing body, stating that "We find your reference to 'the individuals developing the game' unacceptable."

In a strong attack, Baumann declares that "We are frustrated and disheartened by this further and untimely episode of incoherent support to our sport and our member national federation.”

And having approved an Olympic place based on the legacy plans put forward by the three home nations, he adds: "We would expect Sport England to share this vision and to fully support it with resources and constructive counselling, rather than set up unnecessary obstacles and throw cold water at the growing and tangible enthusiasm of the British basketball family."

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