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Page last updated at 17:09 GMT, Friday, 4 March 2011

World basketball boss upbeat on GB Olympic bid

Fiba offers hope to 2012 GB basketball teams

By Andy Swiss
BBC Sports News correspondent

GB's chances of competing in the London Olympics are "not too bad" according to the boss of the sport's governing body.

The men's and women's team will find out on 13 March if they will be allowed to take up host-nation places.

Patrick Baumann, secretary-general of governing body Fiba, said he was seeking assurances over legacy.

"It doesn't look too bad but there still needs to be a convincing story about what happens when the Games finish," Baumann told BBC Sport.

"It's a moment when British basketball's leaders can define their future - and it's all on their shoulders."

Basketball is currently the only one of the 26 Olympic sports in which the 2012 hosts have not been guaranteed entries.

Luol Deng hopes to compete for Britain in 2012
Luol Deng hopes to compete for Britain in 2012

Baumann insisted the possibility of Fiba denying the hosts a place was "no bluff". Both Britain's male and female teams are ranked outside the top 50 in the world - and may struggle to qualify.

"I'm sure there are plenty of other teams that are stronger than Britain - so it's certainly a very serious thought.

"Over the past 30 years, other countries have worked really hard - creating talents and spending money - and we would be denying them access to the Olympics.

"Basketball can continue with or without Britain. We would like it to be with."

However, Baumann added that he was "very satisfied" with Britain's recent performances. He said the main issue for Fiba was whether Britain had a "clear vision" for how to develop the sport.

Fiba wants to see evidence that Britain, which has not competed in Olympic basketball for 50 years, has a clear post-Games plan.

"If you look at the history of European basketball, the position of Great Britain has been non-existent. It hasn't been the level you'd expect for a G8 nation.

"It's going to be a historic decision. It can be the start of an amazing journey for Britain. This is a unique opportunity to turn this country from a football country to a basketball country."

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see also
BOA backs GB Basketball for 2012
02 Mar 11 |  Basketball
London set for NBA double-header
03 Mar 11 |  Basketball

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