FIBA supremo Andreas Zagklis has urged a re-think over the support offered to basketball in the UK.

The plea from the secretary-general of the sport’s governing body follows in the wake of Great Britain’s achievements at Women’s EuroBasket in becoming the first UK national side, male or female, to reach the semi-finals of a major tournament.

Discussions are expected to begin promptly with UK Sport over securing the funding to assist with preparations for next February’s Olympic qualification tournament in which GB will be seeking one of the ten available spots from the 14 participants chasing berths at Tokyo 2020.

It is thought Sport England are also ready to broker an interim support deal for Great Britain’s men ahead of the next part of their qualification process for the 2021 EuroBasket – with all three home nations now possessing stronger cases for funds for the apex of their player pathway.

But with GB women’s coach Chema Buceta making a vocal case for all stakeholders to agree a joint approach so that his team’s efforts over the past fortnight can be capitalised upon, Zagklis – who had “positive” discussions with British Basketball chair Maurice Watkins during the tournament – sees a grand opportunity to turn under-achievement into potential realised.

“I would say two things,” he told MVP. “Basketball has two disciplines – traditional basketball and 3 on 3 basketball. And in both, for Great Britain, the way they have started working and the amount of talent there, they have the potential.

“They have the potential of making it to the Olympics and doing something good. If you make it to the Olympics in 3 on 3, you’re one of eight, and the medal potential is very big.

“But second, it’s not just medal potential. It is what basketball brings to community. And we’re a team sport that is very diverse. a sport that’s opening its arms for everyone, regardless of their background, regardless of any beliefs, religions or anything.

“We believe in the power of basketball to unite. We have basketball for good programmes. And our federations, from mini-basketball to the elite, are bringing this message to society.

“And this is a message that cannot be ignored.”

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