Olympics inclusion remains an ambition, says International Netball Federation president
"It is an ambition of our members to be an Olympic sport. I don't think it's going to happen in the short term"
By Sky Sports Netball
Last Updated: 02/05/20 7:39am
International Netball Federation president Liz Nicholl has told Sky Sports that the sport's inclusion in the Olympics remains an ambition of its members.
Netball has been a part of the Commonwealth Games since 1998 and the sport has hosted its own World Cup since 1963, however, it hasn't been included in the Summer Olympic Games.
The INF is an international federation that's recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), though, and speaking on the new episode of Sky Sports' Off The Court, Nicholl shared that inclusion in the world's largest multi-sport event remains on netball's radar.
"It is an ambition of our members to be an Olympic sport," the INF president said.
"I don't think it's going to happen in the short term. I think the important thing is to be very clear about the criteria that the Olympic committee uses when judging whether events should be in or out.
"I think that we also have to be conscious that the programme schedule changes. So, even if you were in, it doesn't mean that you're in for a long time."
Nicholl has an intricate knowledge of the Olympics due to working for over 20 years at UK Sport, with nine of those years at the helm as their CEO. During that time, she was instrumental in helping Team GB to deliver record performances at London 2012, Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016.
As a result of her foundation in the competition, she shed some light on the standards and specifics sports need to show in order to press their cases for inclusion in the summer games.
"There are a whole group of criteria, which are probably reviewed by the Olympic committee very regularly as well," Nicholl said.
"At the heart of it, it's about eyeballs on the sport. It's about how many people really are followers of this sport and how many people around the world. So, we have got to grow our sport in order to be able to be credible applicants.
"We've got to grow the number of nations that are regularly competing, we've got to grow the number of supporters and followers. So, that's what we're working on.
"Our strategy, we're doing it for ourselves as it's good for netball anyway, but as a consequence it should position us better in the future for that Olympic opportunity.
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Rugby union's decision to put forward rugby sevens as opposed to their 15-a-side game led individuals to consider whether Fast5 may be an option.
"We are thinking about Fast5 netball as a product which might be more attractive in terms of that possibility [of having an Olympic presence]," Nicholl said. "We're planning to test that out at the Commonwealth Youth Games next year.
"It is an ambition [to be included] so we will always keep an eye on that, and we really need to think logically about that journey of how we could potentially get there.
"It's not a quick win but it remains an ambition. To be honest with you, it remains an ambition for every international federation."