Leeds MP pledges to make ‘as much noise as possible’ to save UK basketball

Leeds Force v Glasgow Rocks Basketball Beckett University fri 3rd oct 2014'Zak Wells passes under pressure for Leeds Force

A Leeds MP is to lead a debate on the future of basketball in the Commons after pledging to make “as much noise as possible” on the issue.

Alex Sobel, who represents Leeds North West and is the Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Basketball, says funding for the sport at elite level will soon run out.

Alex Sobel MP for Leeds North West. Picture Tony Johnson.

He says this would means the UK having to withdraw its senior teams from the World Cup, Eurobasket, the Commonwealth Games, and the Olympics, a move that would likely damage the prospects of his local team, Leeds Force, who play in the British Basketball League.

The Labour MP says funding is skewed towards individual sports, with basketball missing out despite having very high levels of ethnic minority and lower socio-demographic participation.

He said: “A coordinated demonstration of public and parliamentary support for basketball is necessary to ensure the Government moves to protect the sport.

“I am working with colleagues in Parliament, and with basketball’s governing bodies, to make as much noise as possible on this issue.

“On February 20th, for the first time in five years, Parliament will consider the future of British basketball.

“We’re hoping to hear a positive commitment from the Sports Minister and hope to see Britain continue to compete at the highest international level.”

Mr Sobel was elected as MP for Leeds North West in the 2017 General Election, beating Liberal Democrat incumbent Greg Mulholland.

He remains a Leeds city councillor but will not be standing for re-election in his ward at this year’s local elections.

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