Netball Australia has approved changes to eligibility for selection to national teams removing the citizenship requirements for all events except the Commonwealth Games.
The Commonwealth Games team, is selected by Commonwealth Games Australia and it is a condition of entry that an athlete must be a citizen of that country to compete.
It follows alterations made by the International Netball Federation (INF) to their regulations in November last year.
There is no longer a requirement for Australian athletes to have Australian citizenship, instead Netball Australia has adopted the INF guidelines that permit athletes to be selected for a national team where the athlete has permanent residency for at least two years or have at least one parent or grandparent born in Australia.
Netball Australia’s Head of High Performance, Andrew Collins said the modification opens the competition to a wider selection pool of players.
“Our major competitions, Suncorp Super Netball, Australian Netball League and National Netball Championships already permit players without Australian citizenship to play, said Collins.”
“This move also brings us into line with our major competitors who have previously adopted the international guidelines.
“The new regulations reflect the increasing diversity in the Australian population. It provides flexibility for resident athletes, in some cases they have been in Australia for many years and identify as Australian, to potentially be selected for a national team competing at international events.”
This change in policy is reflective of Australia’s changing cultural diversity. 2016 Census data shows that 26.4% of people living in Australia were born overseas, an increase from 24.6% in 2011, an additional 870,263 people.
Netball Australia is committed to breaking down the barriers preventing culturally diverse communities from participating in the sport, exemplified through the One Netball philosophy.
One Netball focuses on celebrating and encouraging diverse and inclusive netball environments and through a partnership with Australia Post, provides participation opportunities that welcome everyone, regardless of background into the netball community.
Collins said emphasis will continue to remain on recruiting the best Australian talent.
“The change means that athletes can be fully developed through the competition pathway. Every effort will still be made to retain talent that has developed through Australian competition.”