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‘Callous disregard’

Netball great’s savage response to awards night absence and ugly pay fight

Australian netball great Liz Ellis has aired her frustrations at Netball Australia over the sport’s ugly pay dispute, while explaining her absence from the awards named after her.

Ellis explained she was not initially invited to attend the Liz Ellis Diamond awards in Melbourne, only receiving her invitation on November 3 – three weeks before the event, and on the same day RSVPs were due.

While she was told she could ignore the RSVP deadline given the late notice Ellis already had committed to another event and thus did not attend to hand out the Liz Ellis Diamond to winner Courtney Bruce.

But Ellis was left most angry by the legal threats issued to Diamonds contracted players telling them they must attend the event rather than boycott it, as their Super Netball colleagues were doing in protest of their over eight weeks without pay.

“My disappointment and embarrassment at not being able to attend turned into anger when I was made aware that current Diamonds players and their advisers were threatened with possible legal action if they did not attend the dinner,” Ellis wrote on Instagram.

“As a former Diamonds captain, I cannot believe that the governing body of the sport I love would treat its Diamonds athletes, who are brilliant role models and ambassadors for netball with such callous disregard.

“These are women who have not been paid in eight weeks. Who are fighting for fair pay and conditions not only for themselves but for the players who come after them.

“Who consider themselves as custodians of the game. And who I suspect would love nothing more than to attend an event where their world-beating heroics of the past twelve months were to be celebrated. Yet who felt so strongly about what they were fighting for, that they were prepared to forgo those celebrations.

“So yet again netball finds itself in the headlines for the wrong reasons – another crisis entirely of the sport’s own making.

“This has happened so often in recent times the question must be asked whether Netball Australia is capable of providing the leadership the sport so desperately needs.

“This question must be asked not just by players, or ex-players like me, but by the whole system.

“And it is a question which needs an immediate answer.”

This article was originally online at Fox Sports Australia

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