Netball NSW release open letter to NSW government

Netball NSW has released an open letter to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, calling for a pathway to return to sport as the state continues to loosen COVID-19 restrictions.

Published on Friday afternoon, the letter outlines the issues the code currently faces in NSW as it struggles to remain financially viable. It also calls on Premier Berejiklian to provide clear guidance and conformation for all community sport to return.

"Netball NSW acted quickly and decisively at the onset of the pandemic, slashing its budget in order to remain viable," the letter reads. "However, the current situation continues to adversely impact the entire Netball community's regular sources of revenue, and operating costs continue to be incurred. The game is facing a financial crisis.

"Unfortunately, these issues are exacerbated by a major lack of guidance and confirmation at State Government level when it comes to the return of community sport.

"Other states have provided financial assistance and a return to play date for sport, yet in NSW we have nothing. This is even harder to fathom given the Australian Institute of Sport has written the guidelines on how to reboot sport across the country."

Netball Australia delayed a return to training across all levels of the game until Jun. 1 and then released return to netball guidelines for community netball two weeks ago. However, NSW Netball has been given no clear indication when community level sport will be permitted.

NSW Netball also referenced the NSW Government's decision to allow pubs and restaurants to open their doors for up to 50 people from Jun. 1, yet it has not given community sport the green light to return.

"At a time when schools are back in session, pubs and restaurants are able to host up to 50 people and life looks like it is getting back to normal, community sport is high and dry without even a hint of when further information might be forthcoming," the letter continues.

"We recognise that our problem is a shared one across most community sports. No-one expects us to run competitions the same way we did in 2019. As it has been for generations, our game is willing to be innovative and flexible when it comes to approaching competition this year."

The largest women's sport in the state, Netball NSW has had up to 115,000 registered players a year. But it faces a financial crisis if community sport is unable to return in 2020.