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PRESS RELEASE FROM U15's Boy's NI V Wales Games 22nd and 23rd February.
Mar 1, 2014, 10:28 pm




Basketball NI 1999/2000 boys played Wales on Saturday 22nd of February and Sunday 23rd. It was an historic weekend for our BNI U15 boys players as De La Salle College in West Belfast hosted the first international games v Wales U15 squad. Led by Head Coach Darren Oakey, the Welsh have made great strides in recent years and this was the start of what we hope will be a special relationship in helping to develop emerging talent.Huddle
The visitors were out of the blocks the quicker of the two teams in the first of a three game series over the weekend with Walker and Horrigan doing damage at the offensive end with some lovely baskets. Wales were leading 17-9 at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter was a defensive battle with both teams struggling to find their range offensively. John Smye (Belfast Star) kept the home side within touching distance and had 14 out of the teams 26 points at the half. Wales went into the third quarter with a 13 point advantage and extended that to 15 points with a spread of scoring including baskets from Paule and Dudman. Brian McNulty (Tyrone Towers) began to exert himself at the offensive end and along with club mate Darragh Morgan the BNI team came with a late run to close the gap but Wales ended up deserving winners on a score line of BNI 45 – Wales 51.
Later the same afternoon, and with both the BNI coaching staff (Ryan Hayes and Adam Murray from Ballymena) and the Welsh staff rotating their squads, the teams matched up for a second time. The Welsh team included a number of boys from their U14 squad and for BNI the highly talented point guard Matthew Rooney (Queens U14) impressed on his debut with 8 points in the first quarter as did Robbie McAlister (Blackwater Steelers). With Michael Leadley (Letterkenny Blaze) rebounding effectively and debutant Ryan Murtagh making some nice inside moves, the younger Welsh line up trailed 27-16 at the half. Young Welsh stars Kinsey and Merchant kept the visitors within striking distance but the BNI boys grew in confidence and with Pearse Braiden (Lisburn Phoenix) finding his shooting range, the home side ran out winners on a scoreline of 54-37.
With the teams tied at one win each in the series, they squared up again on Sunday for a lunch time decider. In a very entertaining first quarter, both teams competed very well and played some lovely basketball. John Smye kept the scoreboard ticking over once again but Horrigan and Walker kept up the pace for the visitors. Point guard Mark McKearney (Tyrone Towers) knocked down a jump shot and captain Eoin Nagle (Belfast Star) buried a 3 pointer followed by 2 foul shots to push the BNI boys out to a 39-27 advantage at half time. With further baskets by Smye, McNulty, Coran McMonagle (North Star) and Rooney in the 3rd quarter pushing the lead out, the Welsh boys looked a little tired but never gave up and kept competing right until the end. The final score line ended BNI Academy winning the series on a 77 – 46 scoreline.
Many thanks to the many volunteers over the weekend. Head Coach Ryan Hayes (Ballymena Academy) and Assistant Coach Adam Murray for preparing the team so well, Michelle Summersgill, Ruth Neill and Joanne O’Neill for table officiating. DJ and announcer Raymond O’Neill, Gerard Ryan for his generous sponsorship of the water and crisps for our visitors and Jackie Fulton for preparing lunch for the Welsh team on Saturday. Also many thanks to John Coey for organising our referees who did an excellent job.
Finally thanks to all the parents who continue to support the Academy programme and local basketball.
We would like to thank Coach Darren Oakey and his staff for making the journey to Belfast. The Welsh boys competed extremely well and were excellent ambassadors for their country. We wish them well in their preparation for the European Championships this summer.
BNI Academy
Mark McKearney, Darragh Morgan, Brian McNulty (Tyrone Towers); Coran McMonagle (North Star); Eoin Nagle (Captain), John Smye, John Moran, Michael McWilliams, Ethan Gibson (Belfast Star); Matthew Rooney, Daniel Leggett, John Toner, Ryan Murtagh (Queens); Pearse Braiden (Phoenix); Michael Leadley (Blaze), Robbie McAlister (Blackwater Steelers)
Head Coach: Ryan Hayes
Assistant Coach: Adam Murray
J Freeman, C Hughes, J Harding, K Horrigan, B Merchant, P Igic, J Cooper, I Walker, J Solomon, D Kinsey, T Dudman, G Williams-Rumble, S Affleck, D Koukouravas, R Thomas, S Craig Hughes, T Rhys, I Paule
Head Coach: Darren Oakey
Assistant Coaches: Lee Walker and Adam Williams


Jan 17, 2014, 4:16 pm


Director, BBF: Darren Oakey


Darren started his basketball journey 36 years ago with his local club, Salisbury Suns, where he spent 25 years, moving up from a junior player to eventually the Head Coach, after which he headed the basketball programs at Kings Collage London and Bath University.


In 2009 Darren joined the Welsh National Team as Head Coach and has led teams of all levels at International European competition. He was instrumental in the opening of the Welsh Elite National Development Centre and is at present the Director of Elite Performance.


He became a Board Member of Basketball Wales in 2011, and became an Alternative Board Member of the BBF in 2013, after his involvement in several of the BBF working groups.

Jan 8, 2014, 10:47 pm

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Statement of the Board of Basketball Wales
Jun 20, 2012, 1:21 pm

At present, Wales, Scotland and England are separate and independent federation members of FIBA, which is the world governing body of basketball.  Great Britain / British basketball does not have any status as an independent federation member of FIBA.  In the last few years, as a result of a special dispensation provided by FIBA, British basketball has been able to operate alongside the three home countries.  FIBA has granted British basketball a special dispensation (as Britain is the host nation) to participate in the 2012 Olympics.  The FIBA dispensation for British basketball will conclude following the London Olympics.  FIBA have indicated that FIBA will be prepared to register Great Britain as an independent federation and as an independent member of FIBA, but only if Scotland, Wales and England are prepared to relinquish their individual FIBA memberships in favour of a single British basketball federation.

At the present time FIBA have allowed for two possibilities:

a)    a new FIBA membership in favour of a single British Basketball Federation at the cost of individual membership for Wales, Scotland and England, or

b)    Wales, England and Scotland to retain their individual status as federation members of FIBA.

To date, FIBA do not appear to be prepared to sanction that Wales, Scotland and England should retain their individual membership of FIBA and should retain their status as independent federations but whereby a Great Britain team would be allowed to participate in the Olympic Games and / World Championships.  It has been suggested that this arrangement would be contrary to FIBA statutes / regulations.

FIBA provides that national member federations have various rights, including the right to take part and to vote in the Congress of FIBA and to take part in the main official competitions of FIBA.  FIBA also entrusts each national member federation with the full control and governance of basketball in their country.  Accordingly, Basketball Wales is responsible in accordance with FIBA regulations for the control and governance of basketball in Wales.

FIBA has requested the governing bodies of Wales, Scotland and England, to communicate to FIBA by 30 June 2012, as to whether each should wish to relinquish its individual membership of FIBA in favour of FIBA membership for a single British Basketball federation.


The Board of Basketball Wales has considered carefully whether Welsh Basketball, including the Welsh National Teams and also with reference to the level of participation and standard of basketball in Wales, is best served by Wales abandoning its status as an independent federation member of FIBA, to allow a combined Great Britain federation, comprising an amalgamation of England, Scotland and Wales to register with FIBA in place of the independent federations of Wales, Scotland and England.


On 14/2/12,  the FIBA representatives Mr Patrick Baumann (General Secretary) Mr Ivan Mainini  (President) and Mr Zoran Radovic (Technical Director) attended a meeting of the Board of Basketball Wales to discuss the issue of whether Wales should abandon its existing status as an independent national federation member of FIBA, in favour of a new federation membership for an amalgamation of Wales, England and Scotland under the heading of a British Federation.


The FIBA representatives confirmed:


  1. Basketball should be a fast growing sport.
  2. FIBA World would accommodate the British Basketball Federation becoming a National Federation Member of FIBA, but this is only possible if the home nations will permit for this by relinquishing their individual national member status.
  3. Wales, and similarly England and Scotland, have a choice as to whether to amalgamate or, if not, to revert to the position which prevailed prior to 2005.
  4. The Board of FIBA World have considered as to whether Wales, England and Scotland can retain individual status, competing as separate nations in various competitions up to and including the European Championships and Commonwealth Games, and whereby a combined British team would compete in the World Championships and Olympics, but have rejected this possible compromise believing the same is contrary to the statutory provisions and/or regulations governing FIBA World.
  5. The Board of FIBA World has exercised a discretion to allow a combined British team to compete in the 2012 Olympics, as the home nation, despite the fact that the British Basketball Federation is not currently recognised by FIBA World as an independent national federation member.  However this is regarded as a temporary arrangement.
  6. If Wales, England and Scotland amalgamated and combined under the umbrella of a FIBA registered British Basketball Federation, there would be an opportunity for players from each of the three countries, including Wales, to play at the highest level.
  7. If the amalgamation should take place, FIBA World, following discussion with the Sports Minister, the Sports Council for England and the Sports Council for Scotland, understand that funding should increase although this will depend on the recession and economic factors.  If there is an unified governance, and therefore unified funding and sponsorship, more funds could be available to basketball in Britain.
  8. The Board of BW Wales may not wish to deny an individual player or individual players, an opportunity to participate in Olympic competition.
  9. If Wales shall elect to abandon its membership of FIBA World as an independent national federation, there will be a four year deferral during which time Wales would continue to complete in FIBA European tournaments.  However, thereafter Wales would no longer have a status to take part at any age level, in FIBA European tournaments and whilst Wales might still aspire to take part in Commonwealth Games competitions, Wales will effectively be one region of the British Basketball structure, with perhaps occasional friendly fixtures.
  10. If Wales elects to abandon its membership of FIBA as an independent national federation,  the decision will be irreversible.  If following the change, the BW Board feels that the change is prejudicial, it will be too late to seek reversal.  Once Wales should abandon the position of a national federation, FIBA World would not be able to consider allowing Wales to regain its status as an independent national federation, not just because of the amalgamation with British Basketball, but as Wales is not regarded as a separate state.  If Wales should  move in the direction of abandonment of membership of FIBA, this would be a journey down “a one way street”. 
  11. If amalgamation takes place, it is simply the elite structure which would change, and otherwise Wales might seek to retain its own structure operating underneath the elite structure. 
  12.  If a combined British basketball team is successful, the profile of the game will improve which in turn will increase the number of players.
  13.  If Wales prefer to retain the status quo, competing in Division C of the European Championships, then that is the right of Basketball Wales and nobody should criticise that preference.  Whilst FIBA World would prefer British Basketball to become a member of FIBA, this should only be possible if the existing home nations will permit for this.  If the dream of Olympic participation is not enough to motivate change, then FIBA World would accept this and confirmed that if the Board Members of Basketball Wales have doubts about the abandonment of Wales’ status as an independent member of FIBA World, then FIBA would prefer that BW Wales does not commit to this course.


The Board of Basketball Wales has involved in discussions and consultation within the British Basketball Federation relevant to whether the independent Federations of England, Scotland and Wales should relinquish their respective FIBA memberships in favour of a new Federation of Great Britain.  The BBF had commissioned a BBF governance project team to consider these issues.   The project team has explored how an amalgamation of Wales, Scotland and England within a single federation would be structured, and the legal steps which may be necessary for such a major constitutional change.   The Board of Basketball Wales has considered the information provided from the project team, and has engaged in discussion, including a joint meeting of Board Members of the respective federations of Wales, Scotland and England held at Birmingham on 21/4/12.  


The Board of Basketball Wales has now had an opportunity to consider carefully the matters discussed with FIBA representatives and within the BBF and the issues arising there from. The BW Board has reviewed the position from a purely basketball perspective, and also from a national perspective.  The Board has considered the extent and nature of any advantage which may be gained from involvement in an unified British Basketball Federation,  to the exclusion of Wales as an independent FIBA member, and the Board has also reviewed any disadvantages which may arise from this scenario.  The following appear relevant:


a)            In 2006 the British Basketball Federation was formed.  Wales, Scotland and England are the three individual members of the British Basketball Federation.  The Federation as it exists recognises the individual status of England, Scotland and Wales, and the co-operation and association between the three individual members has been pursued on a voluntary basis without rules or regulations binding any of the three participants to continue the arrangement and without prejudice to the individual status of the three members involved.  Basketball Wales will intend to continue to foster a positive and close relationship with England Basketball and Scotland Basketball in the hope this association, together with shared ideas, will be to the benefit of all. 

b)            The nature of the association between Wales, Scotland and England, within the existing British Basketball Federation, has not precluded the formation of British Basketball teams.  To date there has not been a conflict between continued involvement on the part of the respective individual member federations participating in European championships, and the participation in fixtures by a combined Great Britain team. 

c)            Without prejudice to whether the model set out in paragraph (b), involving the continuance of a Great Britain team would be acceptable to Basketball Wales,  FIBA has not identified the FIBA statutes/ regulations which FIBA maintains will preclude the participation of a British Basketball Federation in Olympic competition whilst permitting for Wales, England and Scotland to continue as independent national federation members of FIBA, participating in an individual capacity in European championships, the Commonwealth Games and in various other fixtures.

d)            Basketball Wales has not gained any financial advantage from its participation as a member of the British Basketball Federation.  The funding provided in support of  British Basketball which is significant compared to the funding which has been made available to Basketball Wales, has been earmarked specifically for the Great Britain “elite”.  Wales does not have any players participating in the GB team preparing for the 2012 Olympics.  The funding provided to British basketball to date has not devolved into Welsh basketball, and the participation of Basketball Wales in the BBF has not enhanced the game of basketball in Wales, including the numbers participating or the level and standard of participation.

e)            From a purely basketball perspective, the BW Board has considered whether the number of participants will improve, and as to whether playing standards will improve in Wales, if Basketball Wales should abandon its status as an independent national federation member of FIBA in favour of a combined British basketball membership of FIBA.  In this context it is necessary to consider who is best placed to promote the game in Wales, who will best consider the interests of Welsh players, coaches and officials, and who is most committed as to the development and standard of basketball in Wales.  The Board of Basketball Wales consider that should Basketball Wales retain its independent status and separate FIBA status, Basketball Wales would be best placed to promote and regulate the growth and development of basketball in Wales.

f)             One very relevant factor is that the participation of Wales in various international fixtures, including the FIBA European Championships, is an incentive to players in Wales to participate and to work to improve their standard of play, in order to play international basketball and to take part in prestigious competition such as the FIBA European Championships.  If Wales should lose its right to participate in FIBA European Championships, the avenue for individual development towards international participation would be lost to a large number of players, and this would likely have a marked and adverse affect on the development of the game of basketball in Wales.

g)            The Basketball Wales Board would not wish to deny any player the opportunity to play basketball at the highest standard.   Neither would the Board of Basketball Wales wish to deny players in Wales the opportunity to play basketball at an international level and to participate in international competitions.  If Wales became a region of Great Britain, and abandoned its identity as an independent national member of FIBA, the incentive which currently exists for a large number of players to commit to excel in order to play international basketball would likely be prejudiced.

h)           The view of Basketball Wales is that participation on a national level in European competition is to be encouraged.  If Wales should abandon its status as an independent national member of FIBA, this opportunity would be lost to many participants in Wales who otherwise will experience international competition.  Neither should Basketball Wales be content to limit to participation within Division C of FIBA European competition.  The objective of an independent national federation should be to improve participation and playing standards with the aim of competing at the highest level. On an individual basis, Wales has produced various world champions in different sports over the years.  The sports of rugby and football afford some precedent. Despite being a small nation, Wales has produced players and teams which have allowed Wales to compete on an individual and team basis with the best in the world.  Rugby football affords a precedent for individual participation by Wales in international competition at the highest level, whilst allowing for a combined British team to participate in international competition.  Until such time as Wales are able to improve upon the entry point for international competition, the opportunity to participate in division C of the FIBA European Championships allows the national teams to involve in competitive European fixtures against other nations of equivalent standard on the international stage.

i)             As to funding, will a successful British Basketball Federation increase the level of funding for basketball in Wales.  It could be argued that a brand “BBF” may succeed in securing greater resources than EB, SB or BW acting in an individual capacity.  However this is not assured.  Various companies based in Wales may be reluctant to commit funds to a British enterprise whereas support may be provided for the Wales national team or for Basketball Wales more generally.  Also any funds raised directly by Basketball Wales would be applied wholly for the benefit of the game in Wales, where as any funds generated by a BBF brand may be shared throughout Britain, and potentially Wales will receive a small share of that funding.  Wales now has something to market, in terms of sponsorship and funding.  There is the risk that if Wales should lose its individual status or identity, this funding opportunity would be lost.  There is also the precedent that funding provided to BBF may be earmarked for the elite, and will not percolate to the advantage of basketball in Wales at grass roots level.  The material provided by the BBF project team appears to contemplate that BBF funding will be limited to the elite British Basketball programme and that Wales, as a region of British Basketball, will have to source funding for grass roots development.  The proposals for a new British Federation, which the Board of Wales have considered carefully, do not hold out any financial incentive or financial advantage for grass roots development of Basketball Wales or for the growth in funding for national teams representing Wales or regional teams or clubs participating in Wales.  The retention of independent status will not cause a reduction in the funding available for basketball in Wales.  The loss of independent status as proposed does not provide for an increase in funding.  However, the proposal could well prejudice the ability of those involved in basketball in Wales to pursue future initiatives to secure funding specific for the growth of basketball in Wales and particularly for the national teams.  The BBF project team does not envisage that the Great Britain team would include any Welsh players before 2019.  Neither does the report from the project team place any emphasis on Wales having a national elite structure before 2019 despite the fact that an active and effective elite programme is already being pursued by Basketball Wales. 

j)              Would abandonment of Wales’ status as an independent national member of FIBA be for the good of everyone, or for the good of the majority, or for the good of a minority?   The BW Board has had to weigh the possibility that a very small number may miss out on Olympic participation against the certainty that large numbers will miss out on involvement in international competition and will miss the opportunity to represent their country if  Wales should relinquish its individual membership of FIBA.   The objective of ensuring that those players involved in the elite programmes of England and Scotland have the opportunity (or at least the possibility) of taking part in Olympic competition is laudable, provided it is not at the cost of precluding participation by a significant number of players in Wales, including those involved in the junior programme, from taking part in FIBA European championships and developing through involvement with national teams actively engaged in the highest level of European competition, which is available for so long as Wales retains its independent FIBA membership.  The “British model” may provide a pathway to possible Olympic participation for future Welsh players but will terminate the clear and established pathway to FIBA European competition for so many Welsh basketball players.

k)             Would the loss of individual membership as an independent national federation be for the good of those participating in the game in Wales, or would it serve primarily to benefit those participating in England and Scotland, which in terms of geographical area and population are bigger than Wales.  There is a concern that the latter will hold true.

l)             In view of the FIBA regulations relevant to qualification for Olympic competition, it may not be realistic that a combined Great Britain team will qualify for Olympic tournaments in the foreseeable future.  This can be measured against the certainty that players representing Wales will take part in international competition for so long as Wales maintains its independent membership of FIBA as an independent national federation. 

m)          The participation of Wales in FIBA international competition allows an opportunity to develop the game in Wales, with players aspiring to take part not only in FIBA European competition but within international competition at the highest standard, including Commonweath Games  and world competitions.  If Wales should retain its national identity as an individual member of FIBA, this should not preclude the development of basketball in Wales, towards the goal of participation in FIBA competition at the highest standard.

n)           From a purely national perspective,  Wales enjoys a national identity of which it is extremely proud.  It would not appear in the best interests of preserving national identity should Wales assume the role of a regional player as part of a Great Britain structure.



After careful consideration, the decision of the Board of Basketball Wales at this time is as follows:


  1. To continue to promote and encourage a positive relationship with its colleagues involved in basketball in England and Scotland.
  2. To retain its status as an independent national federation member of FIBA.
  3. To use its best endeavours, to promote the game of basketball in Wales, to enlarge participation, to make basketball readily available on a social and recreational basis, and to promote an excellence within its elite structure which will enable Wales to participate in international competition at the highest level.
  4. To provide and implement an ongoing vision and strategy for basketball in Wales and to secure appropriate funding and resources to enable the best advancement of basketball in Wales and the excellence of national teams representing Wales.

Basketball in Britain
Jun 17, 2012, 4:16 pm


A second meeting of the English, Scottish, Welsh and British Basketball Boards took place in Birmingham on Saturday 21 April. The main purpose was to review and discuss proposals prepared by the British Basketball Federation Governance Project Team on the future governance of the sport in Britain.


The Home Country Associations are affiliated to FIBA (the world governing body), whereas British Basketball is not. However, British Basketball has been able to operate alongside the three Home Country Associations and enter FIBA competitions since 2006 because FIBA have provided a special dispensation to enable this to happen. One of the opportunities this provided was to test whether Great Britain could field competitive teams at the Olympic Games in London. The other was for the Home Countries to review the governance of the sport in Britain so it was positioned and structured to optimise the future growth and success of the sport across Britain. The outstanding performances of both the men’s and women’s GB teams in recent years were rewarded in March 2011 with the confirmation by FIBA of their places in the 2012 Olympic tournaments. The Home Countries of England, Scotland, and Wales are now required to respond to FIBA by 30th June 2012 on whether they will return to the pre 2006 structure or whether they will choose to continue as three Home Country Associations affiliated to FIBA through a British body. If the latter option was to be preferred it would enable the special dispensation and the current structure to continue until the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. This approach will also provide time to prepare thoroughly for a transition to a revised way of working.


Against this background, the Project Team presented its proposals to the boards. They focussed on the merits of the Home Country Associations affiliating to FIBA through a British body and on what British and Home Country bodies would do after 2016.


At the conclusion of the joint meeting, all boards expressed their thanks for the work that had been done by the project team, and agreed that consultations should take place in each of the Home Countries about the proposals for the future governance of basketball in Britain. A copy of the presentation, which was reviewed by the Joint Boards meeting on 21st April, is available here. The Project Team was also asked to examine what the legal process would be to support any changes recommended by the Home Country Association Boards so that a response can be provided to FIBA by 30 June. The format of the international programmes which could be available after 2016 will also be investigated further.




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