British Basketball has been charged with raising at least £500,000 to inject into the Great Britain team budget after it was revealed that Sport England is to set aside a similar amount to support the international programme.

It comes in the wake of UK Sport’s controversial decision to strip basketball of its £7m Lottery funding under their “no compromise” formula that the men’s and women’s sides are not seen as medal contenders at Rio 2016 or Tokyo 2020.

The surprise move, unveiled in the minutes of the most recent Sport England board meeting, is understood to have followed an intervention from Sports Minister Helen Grant who has been under pressure to broker a financial deal to back a number of sports that were stripped of their backing from the public purse.

Although Grant is thought to have tasked the government agency with plugging some of the shortfall across a group that also includes volleyball and wrestling, it is thought that basketball – which receives £2.2 annual in grassroots money through Sport England – will receive the greatest share, if it can secure additional commercial or other cash.

“The board members discussed the issue and were broadly supportive of providing support,” the minutes read. “Any solution should be on a partnership basis with UK Sport and be consistent with Sport England’s aims and objectives.

“It was agreed that Sport England should enter discussions with DCMS and UK Sport on this basis, with a budget of up to £500k per annum on a matched funding basis until 2018.”

British Basketball officials, with support from the all-party Parliamentary Group, have been lobbying for a meeting with Grant which is thought to have scheduled for later this month.

The governing body came in for criticism for not securing a sponsor for the Great Britain teams this summer, it is possible that the women’s sides participation in next summer’s EuroBasket – the qualifying tournament for the 2016 Olympics – could stimulate interest.

Extra funds are urgently required with British Basketball’s reserves now running low after the 2014 campaign that saw the Under-20 women go into their European Championships without a significant build-up.

“UK Sport’s mantra is no-compromise,” performance chairman Roger Moreland told MVP.

“We’ve had to compromise this summer. We’ve had to do the minimum and this is what we’ve ended up with. We can’t prepare the teams the way we would want.”

Sport Scotland and Sport Wales may now come under pressure to contribute ahead of a final merging of the home nations into a single national side from 2016 onwards.

Grant, quoted in The Guardian, added: “I am keen to explore what more we can do to support basketball. I believe that the sport has great potential to reach more young people and grow in this country and we are in early discussions with Sport England and UK Sport about how we can help do that.”

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