Working on behalf of the basketball community and affiliated clubs and Associations, Auckland Basketball Services Limited (ABSL) has long recognised the need for change in the way the game is delivered in the wider Auckland region, with the Board and management team working towards changing the way the game is accessed and played by the wider community.

That plan is about to gain significant momentum, with Counties Manukau, Waitakere West Auckland and Basketball Auckland Associations uniting in driving a shared vision to be implemented by ABSL.

ABSL Board Chair Simon Whyte is at the forefront of the overhaul and says it is vital that the sport enjoys a stronger platform for all to enjoy the benefits of participation, from school students to adult social players.

“Historically the model has not provided consistent delivery or enabled everyone suitable access to play the game. Our recent growth has almost happened despite the system, rather than because of it. It is partly thanks to the dedication and many hours of paid and unpaid work from a group of diehard basketball people that the game has coped with that increase in demand, but we must now recognised the time is right for change.

“It is time to introduce a new governance model, one that will be financially secure and provide clear pathways for all to participate and grow in the sport, be they players, coaches, administrators, referees or volunteers.”

The new structure will see ABSL streamline many of the operational roles required to keep the Associations afloat, and to have that in turn enable an active and healthy club-based delivery of basketball services into the community, including competitions for all age groups.

The new strategic plan has identified three core focus areas for ABSL to lead in partnership with its member associations, clubs, and schools:

  • Community Division - greater participation (Tamariki to adults)

  • Development Division – better basketball (players, officials, volunteers)

  • Services Division – better smarter service and support (for everyone)

To deliver on these goals, the model must change to provide stronger governance, improved transparency and more accountability. The goal is to get better decision making in the interests of basketball and greater alignment and teamwork with the stakeholder group and wider basketball community.

The new Board will consist of 7 Directors, with representation from each of the three member associations and 4 independent Directors elected by the shareholders. The Board will have the capacity to change and reflect the addition of more Associations when that might occur in the future.

The recent COVID-19 lockdown threatened to undermine much of the planning and recent hard work, with the sudden and complete cessation of all basketball activity (for what was at the time an unknown length of time) resulting in all previous roles being made redundant.

Since lockdown however, 7 staff have been re-engaged or employed in key roles under the new structure, with the appointment of a transitionary General Manager to oversee the change expected to be confirmed in the next 7 to 10 days.

“The Board is nearing the end of our discussions with a preferred candidate and expect to finalise details and make an announcement next week,” said Whyte. “The transitionary GM role will likely be on a six-month term, with an emphasis on implementing the new governance structure and strategic plan, once that work is complete a permanent GM will be sought to continue that work and further grow and develop the game.”

Further to that appointment, ABSL is currently advertising for a new role of Manager, Community Basketball. Reporting into the General Manager of ABSL, the primary focus of this position is the sustainable creation and development of ABSL owned and operated Clubs across all stakeholder regions and the engagement and participation of independent clubs into ABSL programmes, events, and leagues. This will include the development of a Community Growth Strategy and overseeing the implementation of local and regional Club strategies with the aim of driving engagement and growing participation in quality basketball for all local communities.

Whyte emphasises that the desire of ABSL moving forward is to engage with all Associations and clubs, regardless of affiliations.