British Basketball receives vital funds

British BasketballSport England has thrown a lifeline to British Basketball with a £1.18million [€1.50million] funding program that will be issued over the next three years. The donation will be used to secure the short term future of international teams in the British Basketball tier from under 20 to senior level.

UK Sport had already refused income to the nations Basketball set up as British attendance at large international tournaments is non-existent. The country will likely figure at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, but even getting close to the medals would be an event to disrupt the history books. Likewise, other major competitions such as Eurobasket are also off the table for the men as they lost all four of their qualifying fixtures. It is worth noting that the women’s team did secure passage to the 2015 Eurobasket in Hungary and Romania.

The emergency fund has covered the bulk of proposed cost over the next three years, but British Basketball will also have to raise £592,000 [€755,831] through donations or commercial sponsors. Another option is to lobby for funding from other home nations such as Wales and Scotland. The national team has been operating on a shoestring budget for some time, Great Britain forward Kieron Achara revealing that during those Eurobasket qualifiers he and his roster-mates were living off €18 (£15) a day.

Performance chairman Roger Moreland previously stated “We are in an overdraft situation,” so it is understandable that he is now buoyed by the cash injection.

“This announcement is very welcome and we thank the Minister for her role in brokering a solution,” Moreland said. “We also thank Sport England for their investment and UK Sport for contributing their expertise.

“The role played by the Basketball All Party Parliamentary Group chaired by Sharon Hodgson has been invaluable during this process. Many commentators in the media have been supportive as has the basketball community and the public at large. We thank them all for their support during a challenging period.

“This support enables us to prepare our teams for international competition in 2015. We particularly want to make sure that we can do everything possible to give our women’s team a great chance of succeeding at the European Championship finals, Eurobasket, in Hungary and Romania.

“Turning to the longer term, it is also important that everyone takes the opportunity offered to them by UK Sport to contribute to the consultation about their future strategy.

“Team sports like basketball that mean so much to so many people and play such an important role in encouraging interest in sport, need consistent support into the future. It is important that everyone thinks carefully and takes the opportunity to give their views through that consultation.”

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