Basketball funding cut 'drastic' - BBL chairman Paul Blake

British Basketball League chairman Paul Blake has said UK Sport's decision to cut the sport's funding is "drastic" and "extremely short-sighted".

Basketball received £8.5m prior to the 2012 Olympics but a lack of a medal prospect saw all funding withdrawn.

"The men's national team has risen from [number] 42 in Europe to 22 in the world," Blake told the BBC Look North.

"It's like taking a football team from non-league to the Premier League. It's incredibly short-sighted."

Analysis

The government has made it clear no sports will be given a free ride. So out go the smaller sports that only qualified for London - and therefore received seven years' funding - because of Britain's Olympic and Paralympic host status.

Blake added: "If you look at the impact the sport has at grassroots levels, it's the number four participation team sport for 16-plus, and it's the number two sport for team sports played in secondary schools."

The top five funded sports for the build up to the Rio Olympics in 2016 were all high performers in the medal table at London - with rowing, cycling, athletics, sailing and swimming all delivering gold.

However other team sports, such as handball, failed to produce results, and the fate has been the same for that sport in seeing its income withdrawn.

"This country has a cultural leaning towards team sports, it's more than just [what] the national team does, it's what we play week in, week out," Blake added.

"We have league structures, which mean weekly competition, it permeates our media and UK Sport needs to look at team sports and how they fund team sports.

"We're a particularly drastic instance in the whole picture, the biggest cut out of any of the sports."