19 Reasons Why 2019 Was the Year of Netball
2019 has been an incredible year for international netball. From the unforgettable Netball World Cup in Liverpool to new additions to the INF family and some of the greatest achievements in the sport to date, here are 19 reasons why 2019 was the year of netball.
- South Africa Announced as Netball World Cup 2023 Hosts
Netball South Africa was announced as host for the 16th staging of the Netball World Cup in 2023. The tournament will be held in the International Convention Centre in the heart of Cape Town, widely renowned for its international reputation in hosting sports and other major events. This is the first time the Netball World Cup will be held on the African continent and shows the development of netball across Africa and around the world.
- INF Wins Silver at The Sports Business Awards 2019
The INF won Silver at the Sports Business Awards 2019 in May. Up against 6 other governing bodies, the INF scooped the silver award for Best Sports Governing Body Initiative highlighting its work over the past year in developing the sport and the federation. Here’s to winning gold in 2020.
- INF Congress
Prior to the Netball World Cup 2019, the INF held its Congress in Liverpool where its members met with the Board of Directors to review progress and determine priorities. Not only was this Congress the biggest yet with 43 members attending, new board members were elected and the likes of Sharni Layton attended as a guest speaker.
- Liz Nicholl Elected as INF President
During Congress, elections took place for the INF President after Hon. Molly Rhone, OJ CD announced she would be stepping down at the end of the Netball World Cup after 16 years. Liz Nicholl, the former CEO of UK Sport, was elected and named as ‘the most powerful woman in female sport’. With Liz onboard, the INF is looking forward to the future and building upon Molly’s legacy.
- Netball World Cup 2019
16 teams. 10 days. 60 games. Over 6,000 goals. 110,000 tickets sold. One World Champion. The fans, the atmosphere, the teams and players, the volunteers, the officials and the city of Liverpool created a truly unforgettable event that helped increase awareness of the sport on a global scale.
We showcased a world-class event, provided a platform for our elite athletes, empowered women and girls and showed the world what an incredible sport netball is.
- Netball World App
The INF launched its OTT Platform, Netball World available on iOS and Android stores for the Netball World Cup 2019. The app-enabled fans around the world to live stream games, watch highlights, keep up to date with fixtures and scores and connect on social media. The app proved to be a success with plans underway for the INF to develop the platform to put netball in the pockets of fans all year round.
- StarStudded Sport Relief Match
On Friday the 19th July as part of the Netball World Cup, an All-Star netball match took place at the M&S Bank Arena in aid of Sport Relief. Celebrities Jennifer Saunders and Oti Mabuse captained the two teams and the event was hosted by sports personality, Clare Balding. The match saw an array of celebrities ditch their daytime attire for netball bibs to raise money to help changes lives in the UK and internationally.
- Four Africa Nations Finish in Netball World Cup Top Eight
History was made at the Netball World Cup 2019 as four African nations finished in the top eight of the competition. South Africa, Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe did not disappoint on the court as they brought skill, passion and sheer determination to represent their nations and make netball history.
9. Netball World Cup Viewing Figures
The Netball World Cup saw thousands descend upon the city of Liverpool to watch all the action live. However, millions tuned in to watch the competition from their TV’s or devices. The Netball World App also enabled netball fans from around the world to live-stream the games in countries that have not had this opportunity before.
- Birmingham 2022 Rewards Netball Successes
After a massive increase in its profile since Team England’s gold medal win on the Gold Coast in 2018 and England’s hosting of the Netball World Cup in July, it was announced that the sport will be moving from the Coventry Indoor Arena to the NEC for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. This increase in capacity will meet the growing demands of netball fans who want to enjoy the sport in the summer of 2022 and demonstrates the growth of the sport over the past year.
- World’s First Study of International Umpires
The World’s first study of international umpires began at the Netball World Cup 2019. Researchers at the University of Portsmouth are undertaking the study in the hope to improve the development of umpires around the world. With global interest in netball increasing and by understanding umpires at elite levels, the findings will be able to provide a framework for umpires at all levels to get the support and structures they need to improve in the future.
- Two Years to Go Until the Netball World Youth Cup, 2021
June 2019 marked 2 years to go until the Netball World Youth Cup which will take place on the 1st – 7th June 2021 in Suva, Fiji. The event will see teams bring their best under 21 players from around the world to battle it out to become World Youth Champions.
- Launch of Creating Choices
On the eve of the Netball World Cup 2019, the INF launched its charitable campaign, Creating Choices. Alongside former international player Sharni Layton and sports personality Caroline Barker, the INF announced how it will be raising funds for grass-roots netball around the world. Creating Choices also launched its competition where people can donate money towards the campaign and be entered for the chance to win a trip to the Netball World Cup in 2023.
- Launch of World-Class Officiating
Following the increase in the profile of the sport over recent years and the INF’s commitment to developing and improving its world-class standards in officiating for international events, the INF launched a World-Class Officiating identity and kit.
The brand identity gives officials a bold new look both on and off the court which embodies the INF brand and reflects the sport. Working with sponsors Gilbert, the INF created an IUA kit for on and off the court, an International Talent Identified Umpire (ITID) kit for on the court and an IUA Testing Panel (ITP) kit.
- Increasing Participation Figures
Throughout the year of 2019, participation in the sport has increased around the world. England Netball announced in October that over 319,000 people play netball in England, an increase of over 50,000 compared to the year prior.
The past year has seen numerous netball events take place around the world. Nations battled it out to win titles, qualifiers took place for the Netball World Cup and countries worked to improve their World Rankings. Here are some of the events that took place throughout the year: Hong Kong 4 Nations Tournament, Netball Europe Open Challenge, Pacific Games, CAN-AM Test Series, Africa Netball Cup, Battle of The Saints, M1 Nations Cup, Constellation Cup, the SEA Games, and not forgetting the Netball World Cup.
With events taking place every month throughout 2019 and the majority of them broadcasted to fans around the world, netball has reached more fans than ever before.
- New INF Members
As the sport continues to grow around the world, so does the membership of the INF. In 2019, the INF saw Norfolk Island and Tokelau become associate members whilst St Kitts & Nevis, Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania became full members taking the INF membership to a total of 73, the largest to date.
- Legacy Programmes
The World Cup legacy programme, NET2019 was in full swing at the beginning of the year when Zambia (NAZ) invited over 600 women and girls from across the country to participate in a tournament hosted at the Olympic Youth Development Centre in Lusaka. The event was the biggest annual netball gathering of stakeholders in Zambia showcasing netballs continued ability to inspire and empower women and girls around the world.
- Three Years to Go Until Birmingham 2022
To celebrate three years to go, the Commonwealth Games held a social where various acts performed and three sports were showcased, one of them being netball. England netballer, Ama Abgeze. led the activity, talking to attendees to provide advice and encouragement.