British basketball teams likely to compete at future Olympics despite Welsh opposition
Monday, 10 September 2012
September 10 - Britain looks set to have the opportunity to be represented in basketball at future Olympic Games despite the objections of Wales.
Wales, Scotland and England joined together to form a British team for this summer's Games after the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) granted them an automatic spot as Olympic hosts.
Britain's men failed to progress from the group stage of the Games, winning just one match of five, while the women (pictured top, in white) failed to win any of their ties.
The British Basketball Federation, formed in 2005 when London won the right to host the Games, presented a strategic plan to FIBA last year requesting that their special status continue for a further four years.
The three national associations were then given until June 30 this year to come to an agreement on the way forward for British basketball and decide if they wanted to merge into one federation.
Although England and Scotland both chose this option Wales did not, citing the lack of any Welsh players in the squad for London 2012 as evidence that the merger would restrict opportunities for their stars.
FIBA has confirmed that the process towards the merger is "unstoppable" despite Welsh objections.
"England and Scotland took a crucial step by relinquishing their memberships from FIBA in favour of a British programme," a spokesperson for the sport's world governing body said.
"Both have given up something extremely important to them for the benefit of the game in the UK.
"While we have to respect the decision of the Board of Basketball Wales, this process is unstoppable.
"You have this almost unanimity on wanting to maintain a British programme beyond this term and go on and be successful for the good of the game after 2016.
"If you want basketball in the UK to be like [it is] in Spain, France, Italy or Greece then it is logical to move toward a British programme.
"There's a role for everyone.
"It does not mean there won't be any Welsh basketball players – it's about finding the right path for Welsh players to join the British programme and not being lost between the majority of England and Scotland."
FIBA is hoping that the step forward will pressure Wales to agree to remain a part of the British scheme.
England Basketball and its Scottish counterparts will also continue to function despite the merger and will maintain a relationship with FIBA via the new British federation.
England Basketball will still be eligible for Sport England funding and be responsible for grass roots programmes in English national leagues.
March 2012: British basketball teams given all-clear to compete at London 2012
March 2011: British basketball must come together under one umbrella if they want to compete at London 2012
August 2010: FIBA want Britain to play at London 2012 as long a they develop sport