Great Britain will enter four junior teams in the FIBA European Championships 2022 after a plan to fund the programmes was drawn up by the Home Countries.
The male and female GB U16s and U18s will enter competitions next summer, supported financially and logistically by Basketball England, Basketball Scotland and Basketball Wales.
With British Basketball Federation (BBF) UK Sport funds only allowed to be focused on the men’s and women’s senior teams, the Home Countries have collaborated to provide a juniors funding package that can afford to prepare and field four teams.
The difficult decision has been made, between the BBF and HCAs, that the younger age groups will be prioritised and the two U20s teams will not take part.
All GB age-group teams were withdrawn from European competition in 2021 because of Covid-19 and despite the adverse impact of the pandemic on income streams for all NGBs, there has been a collective commitment to ensure at least some of the nation’s young talent do not miss another chance to develop on the international stage.
With many U20s players finding competitive opportunities in other fields, such as the domestic and international education and senior club settings, it was decided the limited funding should be focused on the U16 and U18 age groups.
Toni Minichiello, Interim Chair of the BBF said: “I’d like to offer my thanks to the Home Countries for stepping in to back as much of the junior programme as is possible.
“The BBF’s UK Sport support doesn’t allow us to spend the Progression funding we have received on anything other than our senior teams.
“Therefore, it is fantastic news that the HCAs have been able to help out to back four of our six teams. Of course, we would all love to be able to find the money to do more, but basketball is not a rich sport and collaboration, as we saw in the summer with Basketball England’s support of the GB 3×3 teams, is helping us do what we can with limited funds.”
Steve Bucknall, Basketball England Head of Talent and Performance, said: “England and the other home country associations have been able to pull together funding to allow our U16s and U18s compete next year.
“Following long and difficult discussions and deliberations, including with our BBF colleagues, we have been able to offer a solution that allows four of the GB teams to compete next year. It comes against the challenging and uncertain financial backdrop for all organisations involved caused by the pandemic.
“We are aware that it will be a big disappointment to the players and coaches involved at U20 level but delighted to be able support four of the teams.”