GB EB Julie Page 568Hopes have been raised of a change of approach at UK Sport that could see team sports including basketball get a fairer hearing after it was confirmed that Baroness Sue Campbell is to leave her post as chair in April.

The former netballer, whose own sport’s funding has been largely protected despite its lack of meaningful international competition and a narrow participation demographic, has come under fire since draconian cuts to several Olympic teams were announced late last year.

It has seen a wave of protests from the likes of volleyball and handball – as well as basketball – with a number of sporting figures lining up to criticise the agency for focusing its investment on short-term returns at the expense of long-term potential.

One of the leading candidates to replace Campbell is likely to be ex-England rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward who was director of sport at the British Olympic Association ahead of London 2012.

And he is among those who thinks UK Sport have it wrong when it comes to team sports.

“It is much more difficult to win medals in team sports compared to individual sports and, traditionally, they do not add many medals to the final medal table,” Woodward told the Daily Mail.

“Because they are not multi-discipline events like rowing, cycling boxing, swimming and athletics. In team sports like basketball you usually only have the men’s team and women’s team.

“If you analyse the low cost and highly accessible aspect of most team sports, compared to other sports and those which sit comfortably in our inner communities, it is completely baffling to me, why funding has been completely stopped in this area.”

Sport England is also to get a new chair, following the departure of Richard Lewis. However the agency is understood to want widespread management changes at England Basketball before it re-appraises its decision to effectively put the governing body on probation.


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