Maurice Watkins is the new char of the British Basketball Federation ©British Basketball

The Board of the British Basketball Federation (BBF) has appointed longtime former Manchester United Football Club Board member Maurice Watkins to the position of chair following last month’s resignation from the post of interim chair by Ed Warner.

Hired in May to help sort out the BBF’s struggles, Warner and his fellow independent directors could not come to an agreement with the Home County Associations (HCAs) on either a governance structure or a financial plan.

The HCAs then effectively mounted a takeover of the BBF, stripping it of its powers, at which all the directors - Warner, Mark Clark, Sadie Mason, John Zerafa, Andrew Billingham, Andrew Borrie and Emir Feisal - resigned.

In a statement released following his resignation, Warner said:

"Following [the] peremptory, unconstitutional actions by the HCA chairs, my six independent director colleagues and I have decided today to resign from the Board of British Basketball with immediate effect.

"In the seven weeks in which I have been with British Basketball, working with my fellow directors and the staff to find a collaborative solution to the financial challenges facing the game, I have repeatedly encountered intransigence and aggression from the chairs of the Home Countries.

"I cannot in all conscience lead an organisation whose three members are so unwilling to work collectively, so devoid of ambition for the game, so full of disdain for Great Britain players and, as evidenced by their actions yesterday, so apparently lacking in professional integrity.

"I have written to the Minister for Sport [Tacey Crouch] to thank her for the generous financial lifeline that she recently extended to basketball, and to apologise that the opportunity this clearly presented to create a vibrant future for GB teams at all age groups appears to have been wilfully squandered for reasons that remain entirely unclear.

"I extend that apology to every one of the basketball family in Great Britain, players, coaches, officials and fans alike."

Watkins is currently chair of British Swimming and the Rugby League European Federation, a director of Lancashire County Cricket Club, and is senior partner Brabners LLP.

He is also a member of the British Olympic Association's National Olympic Committee.

British Basketball has experienced turbulent times since UK Sport cut its funding in February ©Getty Images
British Basketball has experienced turbulent times since UK Sport cut its funding in February ©Getty Images

While on the Board of Manchester United - where he was a director for 28 years - Watkins was also a director of Manchester United Basketball Club in the 1980s and early 90’s.

He was also one of the principal architects of the formation of the original English Basketball League.

The BBF runs the Great Britain basketball teams under a federated model comprised of the HCAs of England, Scotland and Wales.

Speaking of his appointment, Watkins said: "Basketball is the fastest growing sport in the UK and we have a great deal of potential to change lives and communities and develop professional players who can perform at the highest level.

"To achieve this, we will work together.

"I’ve been encouraged by the unified voice of British Basketball and the Home Country Associations."

"Recent events have been challenging for British Basketball, both in terms of governance and finance.

"Our first priority is to steady the ship, keep GB players on the floor and to begin to attract new sponsors.

"I look forward to taking on this challenge in partnership with the team of GB Basketball staff and volunteers who work tirelessly for our sport, and with the associations of England, Scotland and Wales."

In February this year UK Sport announced the decision  not to fund basketball, which Sport England claim is the third-most played sport in the country, after national teams failed to gain medals at international competitions, including the Olympic Games.

As a result of the funding cuts, the BBF warned it would run out of money in April, leaving British basketball players in limbo.