Netball eyes return to play

3 months ago

Netball Australia and the Suncorp Super Netball league are in full return-to-action planning ahead of key government deadlines, with the National Cabinet today due to consider moves that could clear several barriers for the return of grassroots, Suncorp Super Netball and possibly international netball.

Like other major Australian sporting leagues, Suncorp Super Netball league management have been working tirelessly, alongside its clubs and athletes, since postponing the 2020 competition to determine how and when the season might be able to take place.

Suncorp Super Netball CEO Chris Symington says the league was working through the final stages of its decision making process and will be in a position to make an announcement by the end of May.

“There has been an extensive amount of scenario planning going on behind the scenes to determine the best model for a 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season,” he said.

“We are consulting heavily with all key stakeholders involved in the competition, with the long-term sustainability of the league and the health of our players, support staff and fans always at the forefront of all decision making.

“We’ve remained open-minded to possible season models since postponing the competition. The work now is focused on narrowing our planning down to the most realistic scenarios based on the information we currently have access to.

“This is still a very fluid situation for the entire nation and we continue to monitor it very closely, however it feels as though the tide is turning and the league is confident we’ll be in a position to announce our plans for Suncorp Super Netball in 2020 by the end of May.”

Netball Australia CEO Marne Fechner mirrored Symington’s optimism in speaking of a community netball return to play.

“We’re aware that government announcements in relation to a return to community sport are imminent and netball is excited and prepared for this to occur,” she said.

“The Netball Australia COVID-19 taskforce is currently working closely with relevant government departments, and our state and territory member organisations, to build robust guidelines to assist community leagues and associations get up and running easily once government restrictions allow them to do so.”

On an international level, the Origin Australian Diamonds were due to play in the 2020 Quad Series and Constellation Cup in September and October in a variety of cities across Australia and New Zealand.

All four participating nations; Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and England, are regularly meeting to discuss whether these events can proceed and what alternatives might be introduced instead. A decision on these tournaments, and any alternatives, is expected in the coming weeks.

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