In a move that has left the Australian netball community in shock, Collingwood Football Club announced on Tuesday that it will withdraw its license from the Super Netball competition. The decision, effective at the conclusion of the 2023 season, is the result of a comprehensive review focused on the viability of the club’s netball program in the future.
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MAY 21: The Magpies look on from the bench during the round 10 Super Netball match between NSW Swifts and Collingwood Magpies at Ken Rosewall Arena, on May 21, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)
Collingwood CEO Craig Kelly, in a statement that highlighted both the regret and the inevitability of the situation, acknowledged the significant impact the netball program has had on the progress of Collingwood. “Collingwood is a better place for having had a netball team and the decision to not renew our netball license has been an incredibly difficult one which has weighed heavily on us,” he said.
The decision came after a thorough analysis of key aspects of the club’s netball program and that of the governing body. According to Kelly, the review determined that the netball program is not sustainable and admitted that the club could have run a more efficient program.
This exit from the Super Netball competition is a significant development for Collingwood, which has been an integral part of the netball community. Despite extensive discussions with Netball Australia and SSN to explore potential solutions, the challenges posed by profitability and the ongoing stalemate in finalising the TPA and CPA were crucial in influencing the club’s decision.
Kelly emphasised that while the timing of such an announcement is never ideal, it is important to provide clarity to their athletes, coaches, and staff to allow them to plan for the future. A transition plan to support the team during this period is expected to be put in place over the coming months.
In his statement, Kelly paid tribute to the team, thanking each netballer, the wider program led by Head Coach Nicole Richardson, and Captains Geva Mentor and Ash Brazill for their contribution, loyalty, and commitment. “Each netballer who has come through the doors has made our Club better. The energy of our netballers, dedication to their craft, and love of the game has been a key part of why this decision has been an incredibly difficult one to make,” he said.
Despite exiting netball, Collingwood remains firmly committed to investing in women’s sport through its AFLW and VFLW programs. Kelly expressed gratitude to every single member and supporter of the Magpies’ netball community for their unwavering support and loyalty and thanked all corporate partners, past and present, for their support throughout the journey.
The exit of Collingwood from Super Netball represents a significant turning point in the sport. The withdrawal highlights the financial pressures faced by many clubs and raises important questions about the sustainability of the sport in the future. As the netball community comes to terms with this news, the focus is now on ensuring a smooth transition for the athletes and staff affected by this decision. The legacy of the Collingwood netball team will not be forgotten, and their contributions to the sport will be remembered with pride and gratitude.