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Basketball: UK Sport must keep promises, claims Baumann

Patrick Baumann, the head of FIBA, the world governing body, will make a personal plea for Great Britain's teams to receive financial backing in the lead-up to the 2016 Olympics in London later this month, writes Mark Woods.

He confirmed that he will attend the appeal hearing on January 30 against UK Sport's decision to withdraw investment in basketball which came to a total of more than £8m ahead of the 2012 Games.

The Swiss, who also sits on the International Olympic Committee, accused the government agency of failing to live up to promises of support which were made when the decision was taken to effectively create a merger between Basketball Scotland with its English counterparts and target resources on a single set of national teams.

He says a failure to overturn UK Sport's proposals will kill off Britain's hopes of qualifying for major events for years to come. "It's not going to be easy without funding," he said. "You can't just replace it with the stroke of a pen. It's not easy to find private funding because of the current climate and that will impact on the ability of British Basket-ball to have the same level of expertise. It will slow momentum and all the work they are doing with the talent programme in the background will have to be sacrificed in favour of the elite team or the other way round.

"Basketball will not die. It's a question of whether you will see competitive British teams which can compete at the top of European and world level. That's going to be hard."

Baumann will attend tomorrow's NBA game in London between New York and Detroit and maintains that such initiatives illustrate the untapped potential for basketball in the UK. "It's a pity the authorities, those who have statistics that show this is a promising sport, have lost that faith," he added.

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