Toni Minchiello’s spell as chair of the British Basketball Federation has abruptly ended.

MVP can reveal the athletics coach, who doubled as the BBF’s de facto performance head, was asked to step down at the start of a board meeting last week.

The Yorkshireman took interim charge following the death of Maurice Watkins in 2021 but now becomes the latest to pass through a regularly revolving door at the apex of the organisation which is seeking its eighth chair in a decade.

Most have been swept up in amid the internal politics that have been a constant accompaniment to the sport.

In a re-run of past history, the divergent interests of the BBF and Basketball England, Scotland and Wales account for the latest switch, according to Minichiello.

It surrounds a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) brokered by UK Sport to achieve an effective collaboration around the table and what Minichiello argues is a conflict with the BBF’s own Articles of Association and, in particular, the Federation’s right to oversee player licensing across all of Great Britain, rather than responsibility – and funds – remaining with Basketball England.

“It’s always been the elephant in the room,” he said. “It very clear in the FIBA statutes and BBF Articles that from October 2016 registration and licensing of players is the obligation of the BBF. Nothing was done. and Nothing’s been done about it since.

“I understand Basketball England’s chair signed the MOU. As Chair, I made clear that BBF needed to take legal advice first and that the board had a fiduciary responsibility to do so before signing it.

“Which is why I refused to sign until legal advice had come back.

“Their view of some board members was that we hadn’t made any progress in the last 18 months and it was time for a change.”

The removal of Minichiello, who won praise for leading a pushback on GB facing Belarus earlier this year before others followed suit, comes at an intriguing point in the BBF’s not-long-but-tumultuous history since it officially took a seat at FIBA’s table as a consequence of the agreement that paved the way for GB’s men and women to earn spots at the London 2012 Olympics.

UK Sport have continued to withhold the bulk of their £1 million-plus funding package in what has been tabbed as a reluctance to invest until governance issues are fully addressed.

However it is understood that the BBF has held talks with at least two interested parties to exploit its commercial rights in return for funds that would help to finance the various GB senior and under-ages teams and fill a reported £500,000 budgetary shortfall.

The BBF is under pressure to strengthen its balance sheet ahead of September’s EuroBasket and the now-confirmed expense of competing in the Second Round of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers which leads into the preliminary qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

With the other independent director of BBF, Eddie McKinlay, declining to fill the vacancy, the body will remain without a chair until its already-commenced recruitment process is completed.

A Basketball England source insisted that the body has “no knowledge of any position in relation to licensing set out in the document that would prevent Toni from signing it” but added that “once the BBF have signed the MOU, BE look forward to the working with the BBF and the other stakeholders in a period of positive, close collaboration going forward.”

Minichiello remains on the board as the nominal vice-chair.

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