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Basketball can transform lives and should be publicly funded, claim MPsReuters

The ability of basketball to change the lives of young people from deprived areas around the UK is being wasted because the sport is underfunded, MPs have said.

An all-party group dedicated to the sport criticised the decision of Sport England to withdraw all funding for basketball in February after determining it stood little prospect of winning medals at the 2016 Olympic Games.

MPs from the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Basketball also called for future decisions by Sport England to include social as well as sporting considerations when considering distribution of finances between sports.

It suggested money seized from criminals should be used to pay for facilities across the UK after the success of such an intiative in Scotland.

The group, chaired by Sharon Hodgson MP, who is a strong supporter of basketball, undertook a wide-ranging study of the sport across the UK to determine the social impact playing it has, particularly in inner-city and deprived communities.

Their subsequent report said: "The APPG notes the critical value of relevant role models to inspire young people in UK inner cities, and the strong evidence it has received about the unique role of basketball in meeting the needs of these communities."

It said a review of the funding framework was necessary to "ensure that socially inclusive and useful sports such as basketball are not prevented from achieving their potential by the lack of visible national teams".