Leading netball nations form SANZEA partnership

Australia has joined forces with three other of international netball’s strongest nations England, New Zealand and South Africa in a ground-breaking partnership to be known as SANZEA.

SANZEA will bring together four of the sport’s leading national teams to play in a new international netball competition on a regular basis.

The importance of regular international fixtures outside of Netball World Cup and Commonwealth Games years is recognised by the participating nations, who are united in their goal of developing a high profile and regular international competition.

New Zealand and Australia will host the inaugural event in late 2016 with the competition moving to South Africa and England who will host in early 2017.

A review will be undertaken after the initial two years, which may lead to further opportunities for the competition to grow, including the addition of other Netball nations.

The International Netball Federation (INF) has indicated support of the new partnership, with the competition format for the inaugural event, including dates and venues, to be released in the New Year.

The last time that Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa played a tournament outside the Netball World Cup and Commonwealth Games was in 2012.

Netball Australia Chief Executive Kate Palmer is excited about the potential of the new partnership to introduce more sports fans to netball.

“Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015 demonstrated that netball has enormous appeal, not just in Australia and New Zealand, but worldwide,” Palmer said.

“The profile of netball both in Australia and internationally has never been stronger and Netball Australia is confident the SANZEA partnership is another major step towards enhancing our position as the world’s leading female sport heading towards the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

“The fierce rivalry between Australia and New Zealand is long and decorated while England has shown in the last couple of major tournaments they are rapidly closing the gap on the world’s top two netball countries.

“We saw during the Netball World Cup that South Africa has some exciting, young, emerging talent that will benefit from more regular exposure to competition against the world’s best.

“So it’s exciting to consider what this new partnership between the four nations will deliver.”