GB Baseball Grant Successful, Receives £86,250 In Funding

Mon 11 Oct 2021

BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK), the British Baseball Federation (BBF) and UK Sport today announced that the GB Baseball Men’s Senior Team has been successful in receiving the offer of an award from the National Squads Support Fund (NSSF). Following the successful application, GB Baseball has been offered an award of £86,250 from the NSSF,  the largest government funding grant received by GB Baseball in the past 15 years.

“Today’s announcement is tremendously significant for not only our sport, but also for the advancement of the Men’s GB Baseball programme,” said BBF National Teams Programme Officer and Interim Presiding Officer, Erik Gustafson. “Following our strong result in the last two months at both the European U23 Baseball Championship (4th place) and the European Men’s Senior Baseball Championship (6th place), this grant will help GB take the next step forward for the rest of this decade. Most importantly, UK Sport has allowed us to receive the additional means to develop a coordinated approach with BaseballSoftballUK to develop talented athletes who live in the UK. For the first time, with the assistance of BaseballSoftballUK, we will be able to plan a targeted approach to develop athletic talent throughout all British leagues for the benefit of Men’s GB Baseball, enabled by investment from UK Sport. This award allows GB Baseball to execute a new strategy for our programme, which will target the work required to qualify Great Britain for the Olympics in Los Angeles in 2028, as well as to invest in our athletes to achieve a medal for our country at the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane.”

Following GB Men’s Baseball’s last trip to World Baseball Classic Qualifiers in 2016, which saw the team defeated by Israel to fall just short of their first World Baseball Classic berth, this funding will have a dual purpose. In the first instance, the grant will provide a stepping stone for the GB Men’s Baseball team, currently ranked 32nd in the world. Secondly, the grant will position GB Men’s Baseball for the next stage of investment, prior to the 2028 and 2032 Olympic funding cycles. With baseball omitted from the Paris 2024 games, today’s announcement gives GB Men’s Baseball six years to prepare, train, and develop for the next opportunity to qualify and showcase baseball on the world’s highest profile and most elite athletic stage.

“Thanks to this grant, GB Men’s Baseball will be well positioned to be able to achieve success on the international stage by combining our growing robust domestic talent development system, together with additional British international talent,” added Gustafson.

Today’s announcement is the result of more than 18 months of work by BSUK’s staff, together with a recent collaboration between BSUK, the BBF Board and key GB Men’s Baseball personnel. This grant was achieved with intensive work as a team over the last five months.

“Thanks to the work of the team at BaseballSoftballUK and the clear leadership provided by the BBF Board and GB Men’s Baseball, we have been able to secure this investment into the GB Baseball programme at the very last moment” said BaseballSoftballUK CEO, John Boyd. “In part due to the work already done to secure a grant for GB Softball, announced in March this year, we were well positioned to make a strong case to UK Sport for their support for GB Men’s Baseball. Securing government investment such as this takes considerable effort and background work. It’s not just a funding application - it requires robust systems of governance, financial management and professionalism. Working with the BBF to secure this grant is an important reminder of how much can be achieved when we join together for the benefit of this great sport.”

Sally Munday, CEO at UK Sport, said, “The National Squads Support Fund is a key part of our new investment approach and demonstrates our commitment to a wider group of sports and athletes in our Olympic and Paralympic high-performance community. We are investing in a longer-term, holistic view of success, powering a broader range of sports, champions and medallists, built on the highest standards of integrity and partnership.”

The National Squads Support Fund is available to summer Olympic and Paralympic sports that did not receive World Class Programme or Progression funding as part of the December investment process for the build-up to Tokyo and through to Paris 2024 and beyond. Six Olympic and two Paralympic sports will initially benefit from the NSSF. For the purposes of this grant, baseball and softball are seen as two medals within the same sport.

The Fund is expected to have an impact on over 100 British athletes who would otherwise not receive support and offer a crucial contribution in enabling them to represent their country on the biggest stages.

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