Netball NZ receives $10000 compensation from World Netball for … – Stuff

Netball New Zealand has received a $10,000 ex gratia payment and letter from World Netball, following last year’s shambolic home series against Jamaica.
NNZ was grateful to receive compensation and acknowledgement from the sport’s governing body, but is still reeling financially from the farcical two-match series.
It estimated it had lost around $400,000 from the series, but was working hard with venue and accommodation partners to mitigate some of those costs. Lost gate takings from two sold out matches in Hamilton could not be retrieved.
Jamaica’s tour to New Zealand last September was plagued by problems before the team even flew out.
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Passport and visa issues delayed the team’s departure and led to the first two tests in Hamilton being scrapped. One game was moved to Auckland with both matches played in the city at different venues.
When Jamaica did finally touch down, just seven of their original 12-player squad made it with the others unable to travel with visa problems.
To field the mandatory 10 players for a recognised test match, Jamaica were forced to add coach Connie Francis, in her 50s, to the team sheet. They also sent out an SOS to Australia for retired 38-year-old Carla Borrego, and Romelda Aiken-George, who had given birth six weeks earlier.
Francis, Borrego, and Aiken-George didn’t take the court with Jamaica using the minimum seven players across the two matches.
World Netball eventually fined Jamaica the maximum £5000 (about NZ$10,000) for failing to fulfil the fixtures that were due to be held on September 17 and 19.
NNZ received a letter this week from World Netball and an ex gratia payment of NZ$10,000, which chief executive Jennie Wyllie said they were thankful for.
“[World Netball] are very much acknowledging it doesn’t go anywhere near compensating Netball New Zealand for the loss in terms of both financially and the impact on our programme and on our fans, but it is some sort of acknowledgement of the impact on us,” Wyllie said.
“We’re very grateful for that, but we’ve got to do better as a game on the global level. We’ve got to expect better of participating nations.”
The Silver Ferns-Jamaica series had the potential to be something special after the Sunshine Girls excelled at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Jamaica thumped the Silver Ferns 67-51 in the semifinal and pushed Australia in the gold medal match, losing 55-51.
Jamaican stars Jhaniele Fowler and Shamera Sterling were unavailable to travel to New Zealand with university commitments, while several other players were ruled out with injuries from the Games.
New Zealand won the matches convincingly by 40 and 25 goals with the lopsided results and Jamaica’s understrength and hastily put together squad a bad look for international netball.
Wyllie hoped lessons had been learned from the failed series. She called for greater clarity from World Netball in terms of commercial and operational practice from touring sides to avoid a repeat situation happening again.
“The bigger opportunity is what do we do better? Having a global game with holes in policies is not appropriate.
“We’re a very slick outfit here in New Zealand and we expect the same of our global body and if we can make a positive contribution to closing out what we believe is operational gaps, we will certainly play our part to ensure we get to a place where we don’t find ourselves in situations like this in the future.”
Wyllie did have some sympathy for Netball Jamaica which had a largely voluntary board and organisation. Like other national sports bodies around the world, it was also dealing with the many challenges posed by the pandemic.
The forgettable series had naturally caused some trepidation for NNZ around hosting Jamaica again, but Wyllie believed it was a rare one-off.
“Do we want to play Jamaica? Yes we do because they’re an incredible team.
“We want to play their best team because we’re going to need to be able to do that [to succeed at pinnacle tournaments]. Things like that are vital for us to have exposure to countries like that.
“Maybe a little gun shy [about hosting them again], but not to a point where they’re not seen as someone we want to play against on the world stage.”
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