Roger Moreland 568

British Basketball has lost its funding from UK Sport, it has been confirmed, with chairman Roger Moreland blasting the agency for its lack of vision.

Neither Great Britain’s men or women met their target of World Cup qualification last summer and the agency retained the right to cancel or reduce the initial allocation of £7 million granted up to Rio 2016.

Their decision followed a presentation on British Basketball’s performance plans to UK Sport last month, conducted by Moreland, national teams director Warwick Cann, and ex-performance director Chris Spice.

The governing body – which received a favourable ‘green’ rating for its operations in its latest review – has been quietly stressing its long-term medal potential for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo but with the argument also rejected, it joins synchronised swimming, water polo and weightlifting on the outside of a list of 36 sports which will get financial assistance.

“There is a gap in the system and that system needs to change otherwise there is no hope to realise legitimate aspiration for those sports that are not already at the table,” Moreland said.

“The system is not like a tap. To work effectively, it cannot be turned on and off and still produce players and coaches to succeed in future Olympic Games or World Championships.

“The basketball community at home and abroad will be aghast that this can happen again. It seems every barrier to progress for basketball originates in Britain, the very country that should be embracing the progress its basketball teams have achieved.

“UK Sport decided not to fund basketball in December 2012 and have done so again. As we asked then, we ask again – what price a legacy from 2012?”

British Basketball officials have promised that, despite a failure to date to replace main sponsors Standard Life,

Drew Sullivan: furious (BB/D. Wooller)

Drew Sullivan: furious (BB/D. Wooller)

money has been set aside to pay the insurance costs of fielding NBA duo Joel Freeland and Luol Deng in this summer’s EuroBasket qualifiers against Bosnia and Iceland.

However the news is a massive jolt going forward for both the men’s and women’s teams with investment in performance pathways and national team preparations set to be downsized or removed completely.

“Desperately disappointed with UK Sport decision,” GB men’s captain Drew Sullivan said via Twitter. “They’ve clearly decided that medals are more important than legacy and our countries youth

There is no question of a withdrawal from this summer’s European Championships. It will see the GB sides, Moreland said, moving forward with “our hands tied behind our back”.

But Simon Timson, Director of Performance at UK Sport, defending the funding moves, insisting their medal-first approach means only those with top-class potential in Rio 2016 deserve the Lottery cash.

“By its very nature elite sport is intensely competitive and the cost of success in the Rio environment means it is vital that every pound we invest has a real benefit in terms of medal performance,” he said.

“Through this review we have been able to respond to the requests from sports for additional support where they have made a compelling case that it will have a significant impact on their medal success.

“By refocusing some of our investment I am convinced we are making the best possible use of the money we have available to stay on track to deliver the historic targets we have set for Rio whilst also enabling these sports to continue building strong, sustainable and successful talent pathways for Tokyo.”

There is a possibility that British Basketball could appeal against the decision, as it did in 2013, but the chances of success seem slim.

“I know today’s decisions from UK Sport will be hard to take for some sports but funding is still available through Sport England for talent development and to grow their sport,” English Minister for Sport, Helen Grant, said.

“UK Sport’s door will not be shut permanently to any sport but public investment has to be focussed on delivering results.”


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