MPs and peers held a wide-ranging discussion with representatives of the British Basketball Federation (BBF), Basketball England, Basketball Scotland, Basketball Wales, the British Basketball League (BBL) and Women’s British Basketball League (WBBL), clubs and players.
They heard about the tireless efforts of the basketball community to survive and operate during the pandemic and their commitment to working together to plan for a recovery from the severe and disproportionate effect it has had on people and clubs in the game.
It is widely recognised that inequalities have widened within society during the pandemic and, because of the game’s demographic and infrastructure, it has had a severe impact on basketball.
But the strength of the basketball community has prevailed with collaboration and adaptations to survive and plan for a ‘bounce back’ in 2021/22. Serious challenges remain, however.
The APPG heard about severe financial losses, limited access to playing facilities and real and enduring pressures on young people, parents, players, volunteers, clubs, organisations and education bodies at all levels of the sport.
Despite this, there is optimism for basketball recover, with thriving leagues and the 2022 Commonwealth Games providing an opportunity to stimulate profile and growth whilst attracting investment and support.
The funding support of the Home Country Sports Councils, UK Sport and the Government’s winter survival package have all contributed to the survival of the game, alongside helping clubs in need of support directly. The stakeholders are extremely grateful for this and more help is being sought to assist recovery.
“COVID-19 has hit the basketball community very hard - socially, financially and in terms of physical and mental health. We heard about the immense efforts of players, volunteers, clubs, organisarions and supporters to get through the pandemic and manage the severe impact of COVID.
“It was very encouraging to hear about the collective efforts of the governing bodies, leagues, clubs and other stakeholders working together to manage the reduction in revenue and access to facilities whilst finding safe and practical ways to plan to return to play as soon as possible.
“Whilst the pandemic shut down much of the sport temporarily, the efforts of thousands of people have not diminished. They have shown resilience and endeavour, and an entrepreneurial and generous spirit to help others to manage the impact. The basketball community has immense value to society and the absence of the game has really put a spotlight on this. We know more support is needed to recover from such a terrible period in our lives.
“I was really encouraged by the focus to work in partnership to recover and hear about the direction to transform more lives through basketball. The promotion of efforts to bring the game back fully, support community basketball and reach out to more people as we build up to the Commonwealth Games in 2022 is key. If this can be achieved alongside leveraging resources to create more sustainable approaches going forward, we can set a better course for our clubs, communities and next generation of players.
“Members of the APPG are now looking forward to further MP and peer engagement and the next phase of the recovery plans and sustainable growth in July.”