GB Basketball has secured an emergency £1.18m funding package from Sport England to support the Team GB elite teams.
The funding will contribute to the travel and coaching costs for the teams competing in international competition, securing the immediate future of Britain’s elite men and women’s basketball teams. The future of the high performance teams seemed to be under threat earlier this year after UK Sport, which funds elite and Olympic teams, pulled its funding of British Basketball due to the lack of success on court. It deemed the national governing body “had not done enough” to prove it could win a medal at the 2016 or 2020 Games.
While Sport England – which usually funds grassroots and community sport projects – has provided the emergency funding, UK Sport has agreed to provide British Basketball with additional technical advice on talent identification, the development of coaches and in the areas of science, medicine and technology to support the elite teams.
The Sport England funding will also come with new and stronger conditions around the governance of basketball. Expert support from UK Sport will look to address the root causes of basketball’s underperformance against its targets in previous years.
Since having its elite funding cut, the men’s Team GB basketball has only won one of its 11 games. During that time it suffered a disastrous qualifying campaign in its efforts to reach the Eurobasket 2015 tournament – losing all four of its games and finishing bottom of its group.
The emergency funding follows a successful lobbying campaign by British Basketball, which has repeatedly called for the government to intervene and to reinstate public funding for the sport’s elite teams.
British Basketball performance chair Roger Moreland said: “The Minister has listened carefully to our case and I would like to thank her for the role she has played in brokering a solution.
“Sport England’s investment is most welcome and provides a vital platform on which to take the sport forward on and off the court for which we are very grateful. Together with the expertise of UK Sport, we look forward to building a better future together for a sport that not only means so much to so many, but also provides opportunity and aspiration for young people across Great Britain.”
Minister for Sport Helen Grant added: “I’m delighted that Sport England and UK Sport have responded to my call to see what more we can do to support basketball in Britain. The sport has a huge potential to grow and I want there to be a route for young people taking up basketball in this country to get to the top. GB Basketball understands that with this funding and support it has to step up, but I am confident that the sport will do that.”