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10 Aug 2018

British Swimming chair Maurice Watkins appointed chair of British Basketball
BY Tom Walker

A sports governance veteran, Watkins spent 28 years as a director at Manchester United

A sports governance veteran, Watkins spent 28 years as a director at Manchester United
photo: BBF

British Basketball Federation (BBF) has appointed highly experienced sports governance veteran Maurice Watkins CBE as its new chair.

Watkins is the current chair of both British Swimming and the Rugby League European Federation, as well as a director at Lancashire County Cricket Club and a member of the British Olympic Association's (BOA) National Olympic Committee (NOC).

Prior to his current roles, Watkins spent 28 years as a board member of Manchester United Football Club.

As director of Manchester United Basketball Club in the 1980s and early 1990s, Watkins was considered as one of the principal architects of the formation of the original English Basketball League.

“Basketball is the fastest growing sport in the UK and we have a great deal of potential to change lives and communities and develop professional players who can perform at the highest level," Watkins said, following his appointment.

"To achieve this, we will work together. I’ve been encouraged by the unified voice of British Basketball and the Home Country Associations."

Watkins' experience will be seen as an asset to BBF, which has experienced a turbulent few years.

Earlier this year, it was given a "one-off" lifeline by elite funding agency UK Sport in order to help it fulfil international fixtures scheduled for its men's and women's teams.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) authorised a funding package worth £500,000 to save the national governing body from the embarrassment of not being able to provide a team for June's World Cup qualifying games in Scotland.

“Recent events have been challenging for British Basketball, both in terms of governance and finance," Watkins added.

"Our first priority is to steady the ship, keep GB players on the floor and to begin to attract new sponsors.

"I look forward to taking on this challenge in partnership with the team of GB Basketball staff and volunteers who work tirelessly for our sport, and with the associations of England, Scotland and Wales.

"As we begin to shape the new BBF Board, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to Nicky Shaw and Stef Collins for the steadfast commitment and dedication they have shown to the sport throughout recent events, and for being prepared to put the good of British Basketball before all other concerns.

"We look forward to continuing to work closely with them as we develop our future plans."



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