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Basketball aiming to become the second-largest team game in Britain

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Basketball’s governing body has set the ambitious target of growing the sport into the second-largest team game in Britain in terms of participation.

The goal forms part of the British Basketball Federation’s (BBF) wide-ranging strategy to safeguard and build the sport under the stewardship of chair Nick Humby.

Published today (24 May), Transforming Basketball in Britain Together 2016-2028 set out six outcomes and measures, as well as 10 strategic aims, which the organisation believes will put the sport on sound footing over the next decade and beyond.

Included in the overarching outcomes is developing opportunities to play the game at grassroots level. According to the BBF, basketball is currently the fourth most-played team sport among both men and women – behind football, rugby union and cricket for men and football, netball and hockey for women.

The aim is to increase participation numbers to make basketball the “fastest-growing team sport” in Britain for both men and women. To do this, the BBF will establish a number of programmes such as a “clear facilities strategy”, the development of grassroots coaches and officials and initiatives targeted towards underrepresented groups.

Of the former, the BBF plans to create hubs that “sit at the heart of communities” and act as “homes for the British Basketball League (BBL) and Women’s British Basketball League (WBBL) clubs”.

Other outcomes and measures relate to leadership and culture; awareness and profile of the sport; talent pathways and development; quality leagues and clubs; and, ultimately, a successful GB Team.

Securing funding from UK Sport and Sport England remain a strategic priority despite the acknowledgement from the BBF that it needs to commercialise. The body hopes its improved performance at international level – with six Eurobasket Finals reached between 2009-2015 – and its plans to target the inactive will persuade the quangos to invest.

The strategy is a result of a consultation that took place following the decision made by Basketball England, Basketball Scotland and Basketball Wales to give up their membership of governing body FIBA and create the confederated BBF. From October the transition will be complete, and teams will compete as Team GB at every level.

In a statement, the BBF conceded that it “will take several Olympic cycles to build the GB teams to where they aspire to be and to build the sport from the grassroots up”.

“The time is right to be taking on the challenge of transforming basketball in Britain with the coming together of the three home nations and in the context of the new government-led strategy,” said Humby. “We have made the first steps in building the relationships to foster belief and confidence in our sport and we look forward to making progress in the months and years ahead.”

To read the full report, click here.

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Basketball’s governing body has set the ambitious target of growing the sport into the second-largest team game in Britain in terms of participation.
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Nick Humby (right) joined the newly-created BBF in January 2016 / WBBL/Ville Vuorinen
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