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  • Writer's pictureBethany Barker

How Netball could be moving towards being a more inclusive sport

Advancing the sport's position by being more inclusive for players of all cultural backgrounds and for all gender identities

Tuesday 20th December 2022

 

It has been announced this week that from January 1st players in the Super Netball tournaments will have the option to either remain wearing the traditional netball dresses but they can also choose from other options such as singlets, bodysuits, short sleeve or long sleeve shirts, skirts, shorts and long pants. This can be in any combination and aims to offer a wider choice of apparel and the revised guidelines state that with any change to the uniform, “Players are not required to justify their choice of uniform; however, players may be required to provide information pertaining to items they wish to wear in order to allow the club or association to facilitate that uniform choice.”


Within next year’s Team Girls Cup- the 2023 Suncorp Super Netball- where the eight competing clubs will be given the first opportunity to introduce new options for players which include England internationals Eleanor Cardwell (Adelaide Thunderbirds), Jo Harten (GIANTS Netball), Helen Housby (NSW Swifts) and Geva Mentor (Collingwood Magpies).




“The key aim of this is to make sure we advance our position as a sport for people not just of all cultural backgrounds and gender identities, but all shapes and sizes too."- Netball NSW CEO Tain Drinkwater.



Glen Turnor- netball Australia’s executive general manager- “Netball is ever-evolving, and we need to reflect this in all aspects of our game, including uniform choices...This process has been a joint effort with our member organisations, their boards and their chief executive officers, whereby we collectively identified barriers to be removed from netball."


The changes come after NSW netball's push last year to review uniform guidelines in the “State of the Game” review in 2020; this highlighted that the options that existed presented barriers for many wanting to play the game. It has been revealed that "Numbers were declining in a lot of places" which implies that these changes have "seen the return of some players to the region which has been fantastic. It's given people the confidence to play in what they're comfortable in." The uniform choices not only allow players to feel more comfortable whilst playing but the changes will be aimed to protect players from changing weather; an increasing area of concern given the weather patterns due to the climate crisis.


There have been many changes to sporting uniforms over the last year to embrace a more comfortable environment for female athletes such as Manchester City becoming one of the latest WSL teams to stop wearing white shorts to address the increasing discussions surrounding what female players feel comfortable wearing while on their periods.


The Netball Association states “We are excited to implement these inclusive uniform guidelines going into 2023 and ensure that everyone can feel comfortable playing netball. The guidelines have been adopted by all member organisations, meaning all participating netball bodies will be united by the same national guidelines.”


This may allow many barriers to be broken to increase participation and inclusion in the sport not only in Australia but in other teams as well.

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