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Page last updated at 18:42 GMT, Friday, 28 January 2011

Basketball in UK too expensive, says coach Chris Finch

By Martin Gough

Chris Finch
Finch knows this summer could be crucial for GB

Great Britain basketball coach Chris Finch wants to see easier access to UK facilities as the sport's bosses aim to show they can build on London 2012.

World governing body Fiba will decide on 12 or 13 March whether to give GB an Olympic spot, and has stressed it wants a long-term legacy plan for the UK.

"Basketball is one of the cheapest games to play - you just need two guys, a ball and a hoop," said Finch.

"But in the UK it's an expensive game just to be involved in."

He added: "Lots of sporting teams - like basketball and volleyball - find the costs prohibitive.

"Facilities are often outdated. They're government-funded and face pressures to break even financially."

The Great Britain team was formed from the home nations in 2006, with the target of reaching the Olympics.

With NBA star Luol Deng in the ranks, they have since made significant strides, reaching their first European Championships in 2009.

They compete in EuroBasket again this season, with Finch set to find out on Sunday who his team will face in the group stages in Lithuania.

It would be a major disappointment if it [gaining an Olympic place] were not to come off because everything we've done has been with this goal in mind

Chris Finch

However, Fiba has been examining Great Britain's standing off the court in making a final decision on whether to allow the team to take up a hosts' spot at London 2012.

"What Fiba wants is to see [the build-up to London 2012] used as a springboard to grow the game in Great Britain," Finch told BBC Sport.

"We have met every mark in terms of performance. We need to tidy up some things in terms of the federation but people are working hard towards that goal.

"It would be a major disappointment if [gaining an Olympic place] were not to come off because everything we've done has been with this goal in mind."

Finch, who is from Ohio, spent 10 years as coach of the Sheffield Sharks in the British Basketball League (BBL), a league that has been criticised in the past for failing to aid the development of GB players.

He said: "There is lots of interest in the game in the UK. The mentality that it's a foreign sport was around when I arrived in Britain in 1993 but I sense that has changed.

"I'm a big fan of the BBL. It's had its ups and downs but it's the place where I cut my teeth.

"Everyone at the BBL is working hard, although they're operating within the limitations that affect the rest of the professional sporting landscape, like sponsorship."

Finch and assistant Great Britain coach Nick Nurse both spend their winters coaching in the NBA Development League, with Finch's Rio Grande Valley Vipers facing Nurse's Iowa Energy in four games over the next week.

But the duo will be keeping an eye out for news from Vilnius in Lithuania, where the Eurobasket draw will be made on Sunday.

"At Poland in 2009, three of the top 10 teams in the world were in our group so I'd prefer not to go through that again," Finch joked.

"Once we know who our opponents will be, that will kick off our planning and preparation."

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see also
GB 'must invest to get 2012 spot'
20 Jan 11 |  Basketball
GB 'must work harder' for 2012
30 Jul 10 |  Basketball
Basketball star has funding doubt
05 Dec 08 |  Basketball
Sharks run riot to retain BBL Cup
16 Jan 11 |  Basketball
Britain considers 2015 Euros bid
26 Nov 10 |  Basketball

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