You can read 9 more articles this month
INTERNATIONAL Netball Federation (INF) president Liz Nicholl believes her sport should stop worrying about gaining Olympic status so much and focus on issues that will benefit netball first.
By doing that she believes, netball will be more likely to meet the International Olympic Committee’s inclusion criteria anyway.
Having spent the last 20 years with UK Sport — the government’s funding agency for Olympic and Paralympic sports — Nicholl was elected to her new role at the INF’s pre-World Cup Congress in Liverpool.
Speaking to reporters on the first day of the tournament, Nicholl said: “The sport wants to achieve Olympic inclusion — we have to be realistic but it’s a good ambition to have.
“Lots of sports have that ambition but we know the reality is there is a constraint on the number of athletes the IOC would want in the athletes’ village and to contain the costs of the Games.
“We can see the IOC is looking at sports that are very attractive to young people — skateboarding, surfing, climbing, 3x3 basketball — so we can see the trend.
“My advice to the INF board is we have to keep an eye on the criteria the IOC would use: some are about smaller versions of games, some are about gender equity and some are about the number of eyes on the sport. So some of those we can do for the good of the sport anyway.
“What I would advise netball to do is concentrate on those criteria because they are important to netball, too, and not solely to the IOC.”
A former netball international for Wales, Nicholl was chief executive of the All-England Netball Association, now England Netball, before joining UK Sport and also ran the organising committee for the 1995 Netball World Championships in Birmingham.
With her experience of netball and the wider Olympic scene, Nicholl believes the sport should focus on developing Fast5, the quicker, small-sided version of the game, so it could do for netball what sevens did for rugby union in terms of Olympic inclusion.
Part of raising Fast5’s profile could be opening it up to men or allowing mixed teams — again, ideas that would make netball more attractive to the IOC.
That said, Nicholl admitted that the idea of bringing men into the sport was a “matter of debate within netball,” with some nations pushing for it now and others saying they “want to protect the uniqueness of the sport and the safe space it provides for girls to develop.”
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.