John Lavery says the decision to withdraw elite funding from British Basketball could have ‘devastating’ consequences for the game.
The Cheshire Phoenix head coach was shocked when UK Sport pulled the plug on the funding this week, following a review of summer Olympic and Paralympic sports.
UK Sport came to the same conclusion on basketball in December 2012 – but the decision was reversed following a successful appeal.
Lavery, a former England international, said: “It is devastating news for everybody involved in British basketball. I can’t believe that they have done this for a second time.
“We are trying to get more people to get involved in basketball and moves like this will only serve to damage that. The decision makers need to look again at this and realise their mistake.”
The decision was taken because UK Sport did not feel Britain’s Olympic basketball programme had done enough to prove it could win a medal at the 2016 or 2020 Games.
Phoenix chairman Andrew Donaldson felt this week’s announcement was inevitable, due to what he perceives as management failings at the top of British Basketball.
Donaldson said: “Obviously it isn’t great news but British Basketball were given time to sort themselves out and put plans in place when they won the funding appeal, but they have failed to act. The decision to withdraw this funding won’t have a direct impact on what we are trying to do in the community and, hopefully, it will provide a wake-up call at the top level.”
Donaldson expressed his delight at the news that Sport England have pledged ï¿½1.9m to the British Basketball Foundation to help develop the sport in the community.
“This money will mean more to us than any funding that would have been going towards Team GB,” he said.
British Basketball will be able to make representations to UK Sport in the hope of earning a second reprieve. Last time they ended up being granted £7m.