Basketball has today been confirmed as one of four sports to receive funding from UK Sport following a second wave of awards as part of the new Aspiration Fund.
The £3 million Fund was launched in November 2018 and saw 14 Olympic and Paralympic sports receive investment to help support their ambitions to qualify for Tokyo 2020. Basketball’s initial application to access funding was rejected in December after UK Sports assessment that the likelihood of a GB team qualifying for the Olympics in 2020 was unlikely to be achieved.
However, £118,496 of the initial Fund was held back by UK Sport after the first round of allocations were announced. £75,000 has now been earmarked for basketball, a contribution specifically in support of upcoming events and qualifiers.
Maurice Watkins CBE, Chair of the BBF said: “I want to express my thanks to UK Sport for their latest show of support. This news is another step forward for basketball and whilst we were disappointed to miss out during the initial allocation from the Aspiration Fund, we are pleased to have now been awarded additional financial assistance as our teams gear up for an exciting 2019.”
Liz Nicholl, CEO of UK Sport said: “We are delighted that we are able to reach more sports and athletes through our Aspiration Fund investments as we have looked to make the £3 million from Government stretch as far as possible. ”
Based on the Sport England Active Lives survey released last month, basketball has cemented its place as the second most popular team sport in England. Over 1.2 million people play the sport on a regular basis and over 900,000 children under the age of 16 play weekly.
In November the GB Women’s team qualified for EuroBasket 2019, jointly hosted by Serbia and Latvia in late June and early July. GB have been drawn in Group A with defending champions Spain, as well as co-hosts Latvia and Ukraine. The top 3 sides in the group will advance to the Finals Round, with the 4th placed side being eliminated.
“We believe that basketball changes lives and enhances communities, and we know from our partners in England, Scotland and Wales just how much basketball is growing in popularity, and what it means to people of all ages,” said Watkins. “We will continue to work together to strengthen our sport’s financial position and to strengthen our ability to perform at the highest level.”