UK Sport has reversed its decision and decided to fund British Basketball up to the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The agency have agreed to award the sport Lottery funding on an initial one-year conditional basis, which will cover this summer’s Eurobasket event in Slovenia.
The news comes as a welcome relief to the entire British basketball community, who have all pulled together and supported the fight to fund the sport upon UK Sport’s original decision to cut all funding in the run-up to the 2016 Games in Brazil.
Prior to London 2012, British Basketball was receiving over £2 million per year from the Lottery to back both the nation’s senior and under-20 teams. The initial funding cut would have most likely of seen the under-20 and Futures program scrapped and even the thought of GB’s participation at this year’s Eurobasket Women in France as well as the men’s tournament in Slovenia being their last ever appearances.
Great Britain captain Andrew Sullivan was one of the first players to take to social media website Twitter and voice his delight over the announcement.
“Great news to hear @ uk_sport have come to their senses and have reversed their decision for the next Olympic cycle,” he tweeted.
The exact amount to be given by the agency is yet to be determined but now the responsibility to perform over the next three years and to prove that UK Sport’s decision was the right one will be weighing heavy on the minds of every British Basketball employee who have worked tirelessly to get the appeal successfully overturned.
The true battle for Great Britain begins with its women, as they take to the court in France at Eurobasket Women – as they face Serbia, Latvia and the hosts in Group C.
“I appreciate this has been, and continues to be, a very difficult time for those sports and athletes with no funding,” Baroness Sue Campbell, Chair of the UK Sport Board said.
“I speak on behalf of UK Sport’s Board when I say that we would like to thank those who presented to us on Wednesday for their commitment to the process and clear dedication to their athletes.
“We want to make it clear that we do not consider any of the non-funded sports to have failed. In fact most have made significant progress within this unique period whereby they were funded exceptionally given it was a home Games.”