The Basketball All Party Parliament Group, under the chairmanship of Sharon Hodgson, MP, met at the House of Commons on Tuesday, 15th January, 2013, to discuss the crisis in basketball engendered by recent funding decisions by UK Sport and Sport England.
The meeting follows recent questions in the House of Commons on 10th January 2013 on the reasoning behind the decisions, and following a letter from Mrs. Hodgson to the Minister of Sport, the Rt Hon Hugh Robertson, MP. A further letter has also been sent by Stephen Mosley, MP, the Chairman of the BBL Foundation, and a member of the APPG, to the Minister, requesting an urgent meeting.
Stephen Mosley has also been successful in getting an Adjournment Debate on the matter on Monday, 28th January 2013 in the House of Commons.
The meeting included former Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, MP, and reviewed the various options forward for the sport.
The APPG noted and agreed with the UK Sport principle of ‘no compromise’, but was strongly of the view that due weight and consideration had not been given to the very significant progress made by the GB teams over a very short period of time, that UK Sport needed to differentiate their processes between team and individual sports in their assessments, and that some of the reasoning put forward for the decision were somewhat perplexing.
The APPG further noted that this was in the context of a under-funding of the sport by Sport England, recognising basketball’s very strong participation numbers, compared with all relevant team sports.
The APPG also noted the strong grass roots campaign to reverse the decisions that was building within the sport, and the high profile media support that was challenging the basis of the decision.
The APPG resolved to continue to seek clear and unambiguous responses from the relevant organisations to these challenges, and to consider other options, including related to parliamentary procedure. British Performance Basketball, which is responsible for the Great Britain teams, is also preparing a further information package for the UK Sport Board meeting on 30th January, which includes new, relevant information regarding Great Britain’s ability to be successful at the next Olympics.
APPG Chair Sharon Hodgson said, “It was a very good meeting and there was very strong support for pursuing these issues until we get a fair resolution. Basketball, in the form of the GB teams, has made massive strides forward, and are now competing with the global elite, in a sport that is played in over 200 countries. Having made the progress we have, including the investments made in our teams by global super stars like Luol Deng, now is not the time to go backwards or start again, which would be the outcome of the UK Sport decision. Basketball represents a very important and very significant demographic amongst the young in our country, and we cannot allow decisions to be made that, perhaps inadvertently, cause this very important group in our society to feel marginalized or excluded or not part of the Olympic legacy.”