FIBA urges British federations to merge

FIBA urges British federations to merge

Published Apr. 4, 2011 5:02 p.m. ET

British basketball would be better off by merging its national federations after the 2012 Olympics, FIBA secretary-general Patrick Baumann said Monday.

England, Wales and Scotland chose to come together to enable Britain to have men's and women's teams at the London Games, but they could decide to remain as separate entities after the Olympics.

Baumann, however, said that would ''be a step backwards'' and advised the three countries to give up their individual votes within FIBA.

''If you look at the history books, it stands out that England, Scotland and Wales have participated only a few times in major international basketball competitions, both at senior and junior levels,'' Baumann said. ''Since they came together around 2005-2006 and started playing as Britain, they have gone from strength to strength, qualifying for EuroBasket tournaments and showing they can compete with some of the best teams.''


FIBA voted overwhelmingly in favor of granting Britain automatic qualification for its home Olympics after being convinced that British basketball was serious about improving its long-term program.

The governing body, however, is demanding the British Basketball Federation and the three national federations decide on the future structure of the domestic game by the end of June 2012.

''The way they go has to satisfy their ideas but, at the same time, be in line with the FIBA statutes. This is probably one of the most challenging issues they're facing,'' Baumann said. ''Right now the three home nations are members of FIBA and we are very proud to have them. The British Basketball Federation is simply a united federation of those three.

''I'm pretty sure it's going to be difficult to continue an exceptional situation where we have three home nations plus a British Basketball Federation. This is quite complex to understand in the international basketball family.''