Sports minister Tracey Crouch has raised hopes of a funding boost to UK basketball after positive talks with Sport England and the sport’s world governing body, FIBA.
The meeting had been called after British Basketball revealed last month that they had only until March to find £1 million to fund all 8 of Great Britain’s basketball teams or face the entire programme being axed.
UK Sport, which oversees funding for elite competitors, does not fund basketball because of a lack of medal-winning potential, although grassroots funding body Sport England will provide £4.7m over four years between 2017 and 2021.
Critics of the lack of funding such as Tottenham MP David Lammy have raised concerns over a shortage of funding for a sport which is very popular amongst ethnic minorities.
British Basketball says more than 55% of those in the sport are of black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds.
British Basketball statistics also state that 17% of Basketball England members are located in the 20% most deprived areas in the country.
Despite basketball being second only behind football in terms of participation by teenagers it’s a wonder as to why the GB teams are struggling for funding, particularly considering recent large funding for niche sports like the luge and skeleton at the Winter Olympics.
Many argue that it’s no wonder why Team GB’s success in the Winter Olympics hasn’t been lauded by all.
A haul of five medals – one gold and four bronzes – was a record haul for a country that is used to rain more than snow, despite the recent weather.
Netball, a sport very similar to that of basketball does receive funding and critics may argue that because more ethnic minorities play the sport, they are forgotten about.
A UK Sport spokesperson spoke of why basketball still was receiving no extra funding as only sports that give the “best prospect of winning medals” receive funding and basketball “has not provided evidence” that it can do so at Tokyo 2020 or Paris 2024.
They added that they “will keep this under review”.