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What to know about the Australian netball pay dispute

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Australian netball players boycotted the sport's major awards night on Saturday over an ongoing pay dispute with the governing body.
australian netball pay dispute

Australian netball players boycotted the sport’s major awards night on Saturday over an ongoing pay dispute with the governing body.

Players haven’t been paid since their last collective contract expired at the end of September.

Here’s whats going on.

Background

Super Netball is the Australian professional netball competition.

Netball Australia and the Super Netball clubs have been trying to reach a new pay deal with the Australian Netball Players’ Association (ANPA) – the body representing players – since February this year.

Players have been essentially unemployed since the previous collective contract expired in September. Players won’t be able to compete again until a new collective contract is signed.

Netball Australia wants the players to participate in a profit-sharing model — where their pay would come from a percentage of the profit generated by the league. The players’ union describes this as “an oddity, given Netball Australia is a not-for-profit entity”.

The players are instead pushing for a hybrid model, including a “share in the revenue growth above forecast”. This would mean players earn a percentage of any new money that comes in through sponsorships, not just what’s left over after the league breaks even.

Awards boycott

On Saturday, the Players’ Association issued a statement announcing a boycott of the Netball Australia Awards ceremony.

The statement said: “Players have been unpaid for nearly 8 weeks… what we have requested is affordable and sustainable to the game and promotes a genuine partnership.”

Australia’s national squad, the Diamonds, did attend the awards night due to legal obligations.

Liz Ellis’ statement

In a statement on social media, Australian netball great Liz Ellis criticised the governing body for its “callous disregard” of Diamonds players after they were “threatened with possible legal action if they did not attend the dinner”.

Ellis added: “So yet again netball finds itself in the headlines for the wrong reasons — another crisis entirely of the sport’s own making… the question must be asked whether Netball Australia is capable of providing the leadership the sport so desperately needs.”

Ongoing issues

The ongoing pay dispute adds to numerous challenges faced by Netball Australia in the past 18 months.

In October last year, a $15 million sponsorship deal with Hancock Prospecting – Gina Reinhart’s mining company – fell through after backlash from players.

In May, the sport announced it owed $4.2 million in debt, due to financial loss during the pandemic.

That same month, Collingwood pulled out of the Super Netball program. Players said in a statement: “There is untenable dysfunction and disharmony between administration
and the playing group.”

Hear more about the Australian netball pay dispute on The Daily Aus podcast.

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