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Last Updated: Monday, 16 July 2007, 18:35 GMT 19:35 UK
GB cleared for qualifying games
Luol Deng
Deng is expected to be a key player for GB this summer
Great Britain have been cleared to play in this summer's European qualifying matches by world governing body Fiba.

GB's summer was programme was put on hold when Fiba suspended English players, claiming Sport England was interfering in basketball.

Fiba have now said they are "partially reassured that matters are moving forward" in the row.

Coach Chris Finch will open Great Britain's men's training camp in Sarasota, Florida, on Friday.

"We're happy to know we're going forward, but we've kept way out of (the dispute)," said Finch, who is expecting 20 candidates for the final 12 places on the team to arrive in Florida.

Fiba announced that they are lifting the ban "as an act of good faith", a move welcomed by England Basketball chief executive Keith Mair.

Since my season has been over I've been preparing for it as hard as I can

Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng

"Fiba Europe have been invaluable in helping to resolve this dispute and generally in helping develop basketball over here," said Mair.

"I hope this draws a line under this and Fiba don't have to intervene again."

Since Fiba's ultimatum in June, England Basketball (EB) has received funding from Sport England that was due last September.

Sport England also agreed a 'plan of action' with EB to help the sport realise its full potential, a move that fell short of Fiba's demand that EB be declared 'fit for purpose' by Sport England.

NBA star Luol Deng, who is expected to be a key player in this summer's qualifying games, told reporters last week he was looking forward to the matches.

"I'm really excited and I've been looking forward to it all year," he said. "Since my season has been over I've been preparing for it as hard as I can."

Great Britain's first qualifying game comes on 21 August against Slovakia at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham.

The team will also travel to the Netherlands and Belarus as well as hosting Albania at Meadowbank in their other Group B matches.

"I'm really motivated - we all understand what playing in the Olympics means," added Deng. "It's a dream and this summer is crucial for the team."

SEE ALSO
GB get more time in funding row
19 Jun 07 |  Basketball
Release of funds could end GB ban
04 Jun 07 |  Basketball
GB Basketball ends power struggle
01 Jun 07 |  Basketball
Caborn fumes at 'ransom' threat
23 May 07 |  Basketball
Row threatens GB basketball hopes
22 May 07 |  Basketball


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