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World Netball Congress Approves Changes to the International Rules of Netball

World Netball (WN) has today announced changes to its international rules focusing specifically on medical considerations, game management, and contact – putting players safety first whilst maintaining the spectacle of the game.

Following a 12-month consultation process the WN Rules Advisory Panel (RAP) today presented the proposed rules changes at the WN Congress, with the Membership voting in favour of all changes presented to them.

The Rules Review process, approved by WN Board and led by RAP, started in 2022.  The Panel invited WN Members and Technical Panels to submit proposals for changes to the Rules of Netball, before RAP reviewed these to determine which changes would be taken forward and/or trialed. RAP held a series of webinars for Members in 2023 summarising the final proposals.  The rules changes take effect for International Competition from 1st January 2024.

A key rule change which will be implemented following a successful 2-year trial period relates to substitutions which will be allowed at any time during the match. Whilst netballers will also see an overhaul of game management rules, with greater consequences for individuals playing outside of the rules of the game. This change will see ‘cautions’ removed, allowing umpires to give pro-active advice before escalation to a warning or a suspension, before finally ordering a player off court should further action be required.

Under the new rules Umpires will be able to advance a sanction up to a third of the court and escalate a free pass to a penalty pass if required.

Following an increase in contact calls in elite netball, some key revisions have also been made looking specifically at dangerous play by interference with an opposing player, causing contact on a player in the air and contact with the head or neck.

Additions to what will now be considered dangerous play include “Tunnelling” an airborne opponent in a way that puts their landing at risk or causing contact by moving into or failing to yield a landing place.

The Advantage rule has also been adapted to allow the game to flow without compromising control or player safety.

Other rules changes affect a new definition of the short pass rule, scoring a goal in the closing seconds of play, and a new process for simultaneous infringements.

An updated rules book, app and further educational resources will be created and shared with Members, and the wider netball family, ahead of the new rules being implemented for international matches from 1st January 2024. For domestic competition Member countries may plan their implementation date up to 1st September 2024.

To be one of the first to see the rules changes, download our Rules of Netball App now which will be updated in January 2024, and can be downloaded free for iOS here, and for Android, here.

World Netball will be posting live updates from Congress across its social media channels. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to keep up to date and use the hashtag #WNCongress23 to get involved.

The WN Congress agenda and papers can be found here.

For more information on Congress, visit the website here.

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