Basketball Wales have announced that they will be joining England and Scotland in a re-vamped British Basketball structure. Something that in the end was expected despite noticeable Welsh reluctance.
Wales’ decision to join the British Basketball movement comes after they were put under mass amounts of pressure from FIBA, who stated that the three home nations would lose their membership in two years time.
If Basketball Wales continued to object joining British Basketball, then it would have put the Welsh in international basketball limbo with a possible suspension from competing and big funding cuts.
“Our signing up to the British Basketball Project will lead to potential for greater investment in to grass routes projects that will give better opportunities for you and future members to take part in the game,” said Justin Ogleby, the chairman of Basketball Wales, in a statement to members.
“The governance of the sport in Wales will remain in the hands of Basketball Wales at all levels including the National teams.
“You as a member will feel the benefit of our collaboration from joint projects to improve standards of competition, coaching and officiating across Wales. The changes will be mainly to how our national teams operate and to our membership of FIBA. Through our partnership with the other members of the British Basketball Federation, there will be greater opportunities for the sport to benefit from the commercial opportunities that British Basketball brings. It also expands the potential for our top players, coaches and officials to perform at the highest levels of the sport.
“Opportunities will be created for Wales to compete once a new competition structure has been introduced by FIBA in 2017.”
Also featured in Ogleby’s statement was a list of reasons why Basketball Wales eventually joined. And a long list of what would have happened if Wales continued to rebel against FIBA.
Should we have decided not to sign up to the British Basketball Project then there would have been serious consequences for basketball in Wales.
• FIBA has stated that by June 2016, GB will be the only federated organisation. Individual Home Nations would not be recognised federations.
• FIBA has said that a ‘No’ decision to join GB would mean immediate suspension,
• A potential breakdown in communication with Sport Wales, limited benefits for our Sponsors and no opportunity for our Member’s to participate, achieve and excel individually and collectively;
• No access to third party funding.
The Welsh were always fighting a losing battle. The only way to make it right, was to unite with England and Scotland.
The volunteers and members of Basketball Wales have seen this latest development as a bad move. The principality is proud to have an independent basketball nation and they feel that with a incredibly small number of Welsh basketball players playing for the GB teams, they will be left in the cold.
“Surely this will have a substantial adverse effect on individual players who have excelled through the experience of playing and elevated standard of FIBA tournaments, that Wales will no longer be able to participate as a nation in these tournaments is clearly a huge blow not only in the developmental aspect of the tournaments but also in the sense of national pride that just wont exist in a “GB” system,” said one disappointed Wales fan on Basketball Wales’ Facebook group, which is an invite only page.
In 2012, Basketball Wales decided to opt out of the British Basketball structure, which left British Basketball’s future in doubt as FIBA called for the three home nations to unite as one sole federation.
Basketball Wales wanted to remain independent and wanted to showcase its talents by allowing Welsh players to play for their own national team. With Great Britain dominated by English and Scottish players, they felt that they would not get a look-in.