British Basketball is set to launch a bid to host the 2015 European Championships, using several major facilities - including the new Commonwealth Games Arena in Glasgow - to strengthen its case.
Officials have been encouraged to press ahead with a proposal in order to capitalise on the London Olympics, as well as boosting Great Britain’s chances of qualifying for Rio 2016. And an initial study will be drafted later this year to assess the feasibility of staging the tournament.
“If we are to become a regular player on the world and European stage then we must also look to stage major basketball events in the UK,” British Basketball director Chris Spice said.
“We have incredible facilities around the UK for such a tournament, some of which we already use for our home internationals - the O2 and Olympic arenas in London, the Liverpool Echo Arena, the NIA in Birmingham. And it would be great if we could take the game north of the border to Glasgow where a new indoor arena will be built for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.”
The move has been backed by UK Sport as well as by FIBA Europe, the sport’s governing body.
“We are delighted that we have recently obtained the go-ahead to pursue the prospect of hosting a major basketball event in the UK within the next six years,” said Spice. ”Personally, I would love to bring the Eurobasket 2015 tournament to the UK – another great example of a London 2012 Olympic legacy.”
There is much work to be done before we get to bidding for any major tournament, but our partners at UK Sport are assisting us with preparing the ground via a feasibility study which we hope to complete this year.”
This year sees several new initiatives designed to develop elite players in line with the British Basketball high performance strategy, Game On. The first of these will be a select Great Britain men’s futures team that will play in a four-nation tournament in France. A primarily under-23 tournament for men, it is hoped that this will become a regular feature on the GB performance calendar.
Spice has confirmed that the head coach of this team will be GB Standard Life men’s head coach Chris Finch. “We have always thought that we need to continue to develop our male talent beyond the under-20 team so we have taken this opportunity to participate in this tournament with our neighbours from France, Belgium and Luxembourg. To have Chris coach the team is an obvious added bonus and reflects the high priority we are placing on this team.”
Further elements of the programme will see the introduction of several new high-performance development camps across Britain – the under-20 combined camp for men and women in early June, two national team camps for boys and girls which will bring together for the first time the national team programmes of Britain and the home nations of England, Scotland and Wales.