England and Scotland formally signed Sunday in London that will formalize their merger into a single British basketball organization, despite the objections of the Welsh, ensuring that there will be a Great Britain team beyond these Olympic Games.
FIBA secretary-general Patrick Baumann has confirmed that the world governing body has approved plans to go forward with their full union post-2016, praising Basketball Scotland and England Basketball for relinquishing their separate status in favor of working together.
“What Scotland has decided has been extraordinary, to relinquish its membership of FIBA in favor of a British program,” said Baumann. “In 2016, they will no longer be a member of FIBA directly but they will be a member of the British federation which in turn is then a member of FIBA. They’ve given up something extremely important to them, for the benefit of the game in this country. And so did England.”
The Welsh, he said, will not be allowed to derail the move. And, in a stinging rebuke, he has ordered Basketball Wales to go back to the table and re-consider their intransigence.
“By covering about 95% of the basketball family in this country, and while we have to respect the decision of the board of Basketball Wales, it’s unstoppable,” he said. “You have this almost unanimity to want to maintain a British program and go and be successful. I think that we will be able to persuade Wales to join this party.
“You want basketball in this country to be like Spain, France, Italy, and Greece. I think that if this is the case, it should be logical to move to a British system. Every stakeholder who is giving up something should put on the table what it wants. Keeping independent just for the sake of playing Division C in Europe? I’m sorry, that’s probably not the right argument. It’s not even supported by the Welsh Government.