Basketball: England coach suspended

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The Independent Online
THE English Basketball Association have suspended the England coach, Laszlo Nemeth, after his outburst following last weekend's European Championship defeat against Israel.

However, EBBA's problems with the Hungarian might soon seem a minor irritation. The association expects to hear within days that they have failed with a World Class Performance bid to the National Lottery for pounds 1.8m a year, to fund their national team's programmes.

During the suspension Nemeth is banned from speaking to the press and from the association's headquarters in Leeds. Nemeth's passion and frustration over the England men's team was vented following the 82-68 defeat, when he made what the association considered to be a personal attack on its chief executive, Steve Catton.

"I am totally committed to the players but I have no respect for Steve Catton and the EBBA," Nemeth said at the time. "I am still for the sport and the players but I am mad after four years of constant lies."

Before the game, Nemeth had backed his players' statement criticising EBBA's attitude towards the team, and the two incidents have brought the ban until the executive board considers his future on 14 March.

The failure of the Lottery bid will leave the national team facing even greater starvation of resources in preparation for next season's five return fixtures in their championship group.

The association's chairman, Peter Knowles, said: "The Association deplores the recent press and public statements and particularly the totally unjustified criticisms of the chief executive."