Year of 2020 – International Netball
As the year of 2020 draws to a close, we’re taking a look back on some of the key moments in international netball.
Vitality Netball Nations Cup
The month of January was an exciting one for international netball as the Vitality Netball Nations Cup took place from the 19th – 26th January. Four participating countries; England Vitality Roses, Jamaica Sunshine Girls, New Zealand Silver Ferns, and South Africa SPAR Proteas battled it out across 3 venues in England. New Zealand Silver Ferns were crowned champions of the Vitality Netball Nations Cup after an exciting final between the Sunshine Girls.
Louise Ferguson Joins the INF
In January, Louise Ferguson joined the INF Secretariat at its head offices in Manchester in the role of Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive and Board. Over the past year, Louise has settled into her role and the netball family and has been a wonderful asset to the INF.
Bushfire Relief Match
On Sunday 1st March, netball fans were treated to a star-studded show down as the Australian Diamonds took on the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) All-Stars in a bushfire relief charity match at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. Some of the world’s best netballers took to the court to raise funds for netball communities across Australia affected by the bushfires. The Diamonds defeated the SSN All-Stars securing a 66-53 victory in front of over 12,000 fans.
Sport Programme Confirmed for Trinbago 2021
Fast5 Netball was announced at the beginning of March as one of the eight sports in the Sport Programme for Trinbago, the Commonwealth Youth Games. INF President, Liz Nicholl commented at the time: “The INF is continuously working with its Members to grow the sport, improve the game and empower women and girls around the world and the introduction of Fast5 Netball in Trinidad & Tobago is a significant step change for our sport.”
International Women’s Day
On Sunday 8th March, the INF celebrated International Women’s Day 2020 (IWD) across its social media channels. International Women’s Day takes place every year and celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women, while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender quality (EachforEqual), the theme of IWD2020.
With the Coronavirus Pandemic spreading and affecting many countries around the world, the INF Board met by video conference towards the end of March to discuss the impact of COVID-19. The Board concluded that as Netball Family, we should all draw on our commitment to being a socially responsible sports movement and, where we can, we should extend our hands of friendship into our local communities to help others. INF President, Liz Nicholl released a statement on the pandemic which can be viewed here.
International Day of Sport for Development and Peace
On the 6th April, INF celebrated International Day of Sport for Development and Peace by participating in the #WhiteCard campaign across its social media channels. The day is commemorated globally each year by International, Regional and National sport and development organisations to honor the role that sport plays in society.
Sports Business Awards 2020
In May it was announced that the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 was shortlisted for the ‘Best Sports Event of the Year’ at the Sports Business Awards 2020. The Sports Business Awards recognises the outstanding off-pitch achievement of those working behind the scenes in sport. The awards are due to take place virtually on Wednesday 16th December.
INF’s Back to Netball Task Force and Plan for Return to International Play
On the 24th May, INF hosted the first of several Regional Roadshows to engage with its Members and Regions during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The roadshows provided guidance on international events and reinforced INF’s commitment to providing and sharing frameworks and tools for a safe return to netball.
INF also provided an overview of INF’s ‘Back to Netball Taskforce’, an initiative decided by the INF Board in April 2020. Key decisions were also outlined on the Netball World Youth Cup 2021 qualifiers and World Rankings.
Read the article here.
World Rankings Update
On the 29th May, INF published its World Rankings to reflect all fixtures that took place before the suspension of international netball matches due to COVID-19. The rankings included the games played in the Vitality Netball Nations Cup in January. The rankings saw one change in position, with Jamaica moving up to 3rd marginally ahead of England who moved down to 4th.
View the INF World Rankings here.
Vitality Netball Superleague Cancelled
England Netball announced the cancellation of the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) 2020 season due to the continued impact of the Coronavirus outbreak. The governing body worked collaboratively with the VNSL Board, the 10 teams and key stakeholders to reach the decision on the season which commenced in February and was paused on 15th March. We look forward to hopefully seeing the return of the Vitality Netball Superleague in 2021.
Suncorp Super Netball Launches Super Shot Rules Trial
The Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) League announced the introduction of the two-goal Super Shot for the 2020 season from the 1st August. The Super Shot provides goal attackers and goal shooters with the opportunity to score two goals by shooting from a 1.9 metre designated zone within the circle active in the final five minutes of each quarter.
Read more here.
Interview with INF’s Regional Development Manager for Africa
INF’s Digital Marketing Officer interviewed INF’s Regional Development Manager for Africa, Joan Smit on her netball journey, experiences and her current role supporting and developing netball across the African continent. Read the interview here.
INF Hosts World Rankings Webinar with David Kendrix
June saw the INF host a webinar on the INF World Ranking for its Members. The webinar provided guidance and information on the World Ranking system and was a huge success with over 75 attendees from Member countries in addition to members from its Rules Advisory Panel (RAP) and Coaching Advisory Panel (CAP). The webinar was presented by David Kendrix, actuary and statistician, appointed in 2007 to create the mathematical model for the INF World Ranking system.
The Democratic Republic of Congo Becomes an INF Associate Member
On the 1st June, the INF was delighted to announce that The Democratic Republic of Congo was accepted as an INF Associate Member.
The ANZ Premiership was able to get back on court from the 19th June as New Zealand’s elite netballers battled it out to become champions. The revised 2020 ANZ Premiership fixtures took place at the Auckland Netball Centre behind closed doors to ensure all Ministry of Health and Work safe NZ COVID-19 requirements were met within a controlled environment.
International Umpires’ Award Testing Panel (ITP) Cadet
In June 2020, Janet Edeling was announced as a new International Umpires’ Award Testing Panel (ITP) Cadet.
World Rankings Annual Update
On the 1st July, INF released the latest World Rankings annual update performed to ensure the rankings reflect the most current form of the international teams. It was also announced that the number of matches required to obtain a ranking has decreased from eight to six considering the cancellation and postponement of matches due to COVID-19.
View the INF World Rankings here.
1 Year Since INF Congress 2019
The 10th July 2020 marked 1 year since INF’s Congress which took place on the 10th and 11th July 2019 at the ACC, Liverpool ahead of the Vitality Netball World Cup. INF re-lived the highlights across its digital channels including all the talks from the INF Board and guests.
1 Year Since the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019
From the 12th – 21st July, INF and Netball World Cup celebrated the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 across social media. All matches from the event were promoted along with highlights and pivotal moments.
INF’s Strategic Plan and Support for Members
Following the success of INF’s roadshows in June, INF hosted further roadshows to consult with its Members on its new strategic plan set to be launched in 2021. INF also announced that because of the financial impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, a ‘COVID-19 Response Fund’ was created for each Region to provide immediate support to those Members with the greatest needs. INF also announced it will reduce its membership fees for 2021 by 50%, compared to 2020, for those Members who paid in full for 2020.
Read more here.
Birmingham 2022 Marks 2 Years to Go
28th July marked 2 years to go until the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022. Organisers marked this major milestone by unveiling Smithfield, with its impressive cityscape backdrop as the chosen location for two bespoke arenas.
Postponement of the NWYC 2021
Due to the on-going COVID-19 Pandemic, INF announced that the Netball World Youth Cup would no longer take place in June 2021 after consultation with Fiji Netball and the Fijian Government. The Netball World Youth Cup will now take place during the period from the 1st – 19th December 2021.
International Friendship Day 2020
To celebrate International Day of Friendship, INF launched a competition for two friends to win matching Gilbert Netball dresses. The day recognises the relevance and importance of friendship as a noble and valuable sentiment in the lives of human beings around the world. One of the INF’s values in its current strategic plan is to create opportunities to foster lifelong friendship through the love of netball. Over the past year, INF has continued to work with its Members to develop initiatives that will positively impact people and communities around the world through the sport.
Umpire Appointment Policy
As netball nations began to emerge from COVID-19 related restrictions, INF considered the appointment of Umpires to international netball matches undertaking a survey to understand views of the Members and officiating community. As a result, INF agreed to put in a place a specific adapted procedure for Umpire Appointments that demonstrates INF’s commitment to supporting the return of international netball.
View the policy here.
Safe Sport Day
INF pledged its commitment to playing sports safe for children for #SafeSportDay which took place on 8th August. As a member of the International Safeguarding Children in Sport Working Group, INF collaborated with more than fifty organisations around the globe to develop a set of standards to safeguard all children participating in sport.
ANZ Premiership Final
Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse were crowned ANZ Premiership champions on the 23rd August 2020. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only family members of the teams were allowed in the crowd at the ILT Stadium Southland.
Good Oil Tactix defender, Jane Watson was named 2020 ANZ Premiership Player of the Year, Yvette McCausland-Durie was awarded ANZ Premiership Coach of the Year after leading the pulse to back-to-back titles. And Josh Bowring was named ANZ Premiership Umpire of the Year.
The Return of Suncorp Super Netball
On the 1st August 2020, Suncorp Super Netball officially restarted after the season was postponed in May. The Super Netball League committed to completing a full 60 match SSN season and outlined a return to training framework for all clubs to ensure the SSN worked with the relevant government authorities to protect staff and players.
Home Nations Joins Forces
At the beginning of September, the governing bodies for netball in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales launched a joint initiative aimed at protecting the sport’s longevity and getting women and girls across the UK active again.
The campaign, called #TogetherWeAreNetball, thought up by Welsh Netball, encouraged members to renew their membership for the 2020/2021 season, therefore protecting the sport financially, and driving participation upon netball’s return. This is the first time that the four nations have collaborated on a campaign of this kind.
Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 Wins Sports Event of the Year
The Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 won Sports Event of the Year at the Sports Industry Awards 2020, the largest commercial sport awards in the world. The awards were revealed online for the first time ever following the original postponement of the event due to COVID-19. Vitality, the title sponsor of the Netball World Cup 2019 also won ‘Event or Competition Sponsorship Award’ at the awards.
Creating Choices Competition Winner
The start of September brought fantastic news to one individual, Claire Martin, from Marlborough, New Zealand who was announced as the winner of INF’s Creating Choices competition. Claire won a package for two to the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa including return flights, four-star hotel accommodation and two tickets for the duration of the competition.
The competition opened on the eve of the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 as part of the launch of INF’s charitable campaign, Creating Choices.
New Dates Announced for the Netball World Youth Cup 2021
It was announced in September that the Netball World Youth Cup will now take place during the period from the 1st-19th December 2021. After postponing the event from June 2021 given the uncertainty of the Coronavirus pandemic, INF consulted with the 20 teams who qualified to participate at the event.
INF x NETFIT 24-Hour Live Netball Marathon
INF and NETFIT Netball hosted a 24-Hour Live Netball Marathon which took place on Saturday 3rd October. The unique event was the first of its kind and was live streamed to over 150,000 people in every continent across the globe via Facebook. From Venezuela to Zambia, Scotland to Singapore and Brunei to Barbados, we experienced the true passion and energy of the netball family.
Suncorp Super Netball Champions
On the 18th October, Melbourne Vixens were crowned Suncorp Super Netball champions defeating West Coast Fever 66-64 in their first championship since 2014.
Black History Month
The month of October saw many of our Members celebrate Black History Month, which recognises and appreciates the outstanding achievements and contributions of black people, past and present. From Sky Netball interviews with England Netball’s first black netball player, Jean Hornsby, to Welsh Netball’s stories from head coach Sarah Hale, it was great to see our members celebrating diversity within the sport.
World Mental Health Day
This year, INF celebrated World Mental Health Day on the 10th October across its social media channels to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world.
Rules of Netball App Launch
At the start of October, INF launched its Rules of Netball app for iOS and Android devices. The app which is free to download is the first of its kind for international netball putting the rules of the game in a digital format for umpires, coaches, players, and fans around the world. In addition to viewing the rules of netball, users can also subscribe to INF news, receive the latest updates, and connect with INF social channels.
Download the app for iOS here.
Download the app for Android here.
Telkom Netball League Returned
On the 14th October, the Telkom Netball League, South Africa’s premier netball tournament returned. The league showcased the best talent across South Africa, with 12 teams from nine provinces playing. The Gauteng Jaguars were crowned champions securing their fourth Telkom Netball league champion title.
INF Shortlisted for The Chartered Governance Institute Awards
INF was shortlisted for The Chartered Governance Institute Awards 2020, in the Governance Project of the Year category. The Chartered Governance Institute received a high number and calibre of nominations demonstrating how far the profession has come and the value that is placed on Governance within organisations.
Cadbury Netball Series
The end of October / start of November saw international netball return for the first time since the Coronavirus pandemic as the England Vitality Roses headed to New Zealand for a three-match test-series with the Silver Ferns. The event which was held at the Claudelands Arena in Auckland saw the Silver Ferns complete a Taini Jamison Trophy clean sweep after their win over the England Roses in the Cadbury Netball Series finale on Sunday 1st November.
SPAR Proteas v Malawi
International netball returned on the African continent in November as the SPAR Proteas took on the Malawi Queens at Sun City a three-match test-series. The SPAR Proteas became the 2020 SPAR Challenge Champions after winning all three matches against Malawi.
Jamaica v England
November brought more good news for international netball as England Netball announced they will be hosting a four-match test-series at the end of January 2021. The Vitality Roses will play the Jamaican Sunshine Girls as they battle it out for the Jean Hornsby Cup.