Netball Northern Ireland decline INF invitation to compete in the Netball World Youth Cup in Fiji in 2021.

Netball Northern Ireland have confirmed with the International Netball Federation that they will not be accepting their invitation to compete at the Netball World Youth Cup in Fiji, December 2021.

Netball NI Chair, Geoff Wilson commented.

‘Whilst exceptionally disappointed not to be able to take part in what is such an important event for our young national athletes and their coaching and support teams, we have not taken this decision lightly.’

‘Netball NI have shared with the INF CEO, President and NWYC organising committee on a number of occasions, both formally in writing and informally through face to face discussion, the impact of COVID on our organisation has been significant thus compelling us to make business critical decisions that ensure the health and safety of our members and athletes, protect the core infrastructure of our organisation and most importantly safeguard our future as a sport, both domestically and on the world stage.’

‘As such, the timing, uncertainties and cost of the NWYC 2021 have determined that participation in this event is not feasible nor in the best interests of our organisation at this challenging time.’

Netball NI have met with the athlete and management group in advance of this announcement to share the factors that were considered as this decision was reached and are proud of how maturely the news was received.

Executive Manager, Karen Rollo said.
‘No one wanted to have to make this decision but as time moved on it was important that we showed leadership and provided clarity to our athletes. We shared with them the information we have to date, the uncertainties and risks associated with the global situation both here in Northern Ireland and in Fiji that have not only impacted our business but have also already delayed the preparation time for the squad. These risks are not over, and we are navigating our way through a situation at a time when the health and safety of our people is paramount, as well as balancing the wider implications for Netball NI as an organisation.’

‘We are committed to the development of our national athletes and will provide other avenues to support this key transition group including the recently announced ‘Emerging Warriors’ squad, which a number of this U21 group are a part of and which has now commenced training. We have also linked closely with the other qualified European Nations and beyond to endeavour to provide suitable performance competition for this group that can be accommodated by the situation we find ourselves in.’

‘Our U21 athletes, while obviously disappointed, are an incredible group and recognise this decision was difficult but necessary and know we are supportive of them as they progress through our performance pathway.’

‘We recognise the work the INF and the Organising Committee are doing in order to deliver this event, safely and successfully and wish them well.’

The Netball World Youth Cup is due to take place in Suva, Fiji, with provisional dates of 2nd to 11th December 2021. Scheduled dates are still to be confirmed with the INF to make a decision on the feasibility of running the event on 31st March 2021.