UK Sport has announced that basketball will receive no funding up to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Both Great Britain’s men and women managed just one win at London 2012, which was below predicted expectations and despite the men qualifying for their third straight Eurobasket next summer in Slovenia and the women their second in France, UK Sport does not have the confidence to give the sport the funds needed to win medals in Brazil in four years time.
It also shows the traditional lack of faith in UK Sport to fund only the strong sports and send the up-and-coming sports that need money to grow back into the wilderness.
Performance Chairman Roger Moreland has said he will be appealing the decision.
“We have only been informed of this decision today and we will take stock of what we do going forward,” Moreland said. “The first thing we will be doing is appealing the decision. There seems to be a huge gap in the funding system for sports such as basketball. There is a fantastic pool in this country which comes from different parts of the community than the majority of sports UK Sport supports. They deserve better. We will take stock and thoroughly investigate all avenues and discuss options with a fantastic network of partners we have built up over time and anyone else that wants to join us.”
Moreland went ton to say:” A few years back many people said GB teams wouldn’t be competitive at the Olympics. We were. The men’s team lost by one point to eventual silver-medallists, Spain and soundly beat world ranked number 10, China. The women lost on the last shot of overtime to France who won the silver-medal. We have the athletes with the potential to win medals and that’s what British Basketball intends to do.”
Chief executive of UK Sport Liz Nicholl said to the BBC: “Today will be good news for some and it will be painful for others who haven’t met the criteria.
“They are very disappointed but I think some of these sports have to improve their base, their competition structure, and drive up competition before they can really compete for medals at a world level.”
Nicholl was also speaking of the other sports that received little or no funding, such as table-tennis, wrestling, handball and most surprisingly swimming. Questions will be asked though of how can these sports improve their base and compete with the top nations without the funding?
Great Britain will look to name their men’s and women’s coaches in the new year as both sides prepare for their respective Eurobasket championships next summer.