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Troubled British Basketball given "lifeline" to fulfil international fixtures

By Tom Walker    30 May 2018
An emergency fund worth £195,000 will ensure GB athletes can take part in World Cup qualifying games in June and July

UK Sport is to deliver a "one-off" support deal to British Basketball, in order to help the troubled national governing body fulfil international fixtures scheduled for its men's and women's teams.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has authorised a funding package worth £500,000 to save the NGB from the embarrassment of not being able to provide a team for next month's World Cup qualifying games in Scotland.

Included in the figure is an emergency fund worth £195,000, which will ensure GB athletes can take part in World Cup qualifying games in June and July.

In return for the grant, the DCMS has, however, made stringent demands on British Basketball for the rest of the funding to be released.

A further £305,000 has been ring-fenced to enable the senior teams to take part in international competitions during 2018–19, but the monies will only be released if British Basketball can demonstrate a "sustainable financial plan to support its athletes going forward".

This includes the sport agreeing an effective governance structure – including ongoing compliance with the Code for Sports Governance – and production of commercially sustainable financial plans.

In addition, the sport will have to quantify the social impact of the investment, and to make efforts to reach young, urban and diverse communities.

The move comes after British Basketball warned it would have to pull its men’s and women’s teams from international competition due to a cash crisis.

A withdrawal would have most likely led to lengthy bans imposed by FIBA, the international federation.

Last month, Ed Warner, the former chair of UK Athletics, agreed to lead British Basketball as it attempts to pull itself out of a "financial black hole".

Warner who, was named interim chair, said the emergency funding was "extremely welcome" – and that work was already underway to improve the way the NGB operates.

"A lot of work has been undertaken with UK Sport and others to get us to this point, and I am confident they understand the direction of travel for GB Basketball to help ensure a more coherent commercial and pathway structure for the sport," Warner said.

"There is still a lot more work to do to ensure long-term sustainability for elite basketball in Britain, but today’s news is very welcome."

UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl added: "It is disappointing that British Basketball has found itself in this situation, faced with significant financial challenges."

"It is vital British Basketball now demonstrates it can clearly deliver on its commitments and use the impact of its national teams to inspire participation, pride and wellbeing across the country, particularly in communities that it has a unique ability to reach.

"It is also a priority that the sport works together as a collective to reach agreement on the creation of a sustainable business model that will support its athletes before any further ring-fenced funding support can be provided."

British Basketball  Department for Digital  Culture  Media and Sport  DCMS  Ed Warner  Liz Nicholl 
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