Netball New Zealand confirms return date for ANZ Premiership
Netball NZ say a revised schedule will be announced in due course
By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 11/05/20 10:59am
Netball New Zealand has confirmed that the ANZ Premiership is set to resume on June 19, following their government's decision to move to COVID-19 Alert Level 2.
The New Zealand government revealed last week that professional sport could return at level 2 if the necessary public health guidelines are in place, and the six-team competition is now set to get back under way in just over a month.
The season will be played over an intensive 10-week period and all games will be held at the Auckland Netball centre, in order to comply with Ministry of Health guidelines on providing a consistent and controlled venue.
The country's premier domestic competition was suspended in March after one round of action due to the coronavirus crisis, but Netball NZ Chief Executive Jennie Wyllie insists that extensive work has taken place to ensure that the sport can return in a safe environment.
"We are really excited to be so close to getting the ANZ Premiership back on court," Wyllie said.
"We are mindful of playing our role in helping to contribute to New Zealand's economy in this environment and a start-date for this competition means another part of the economy up and running with more people returning to work."
Netball New Zealand will allow players a four-week training period prior to the sport's return, but strict social distancing measures will be applied off court.
Matches will also be played behind closed doors to ensure that numbers for indoor gatherings remain under 100 people, and Wyllie insists that Netball NZ has consulted with medical teams to enable a safe return.
"We have allowed for a four-week training period for teams to get together, following the guidelines put in place by the Ministry of Health, to prepare for the ANZ Premiership."
"I know there is a lot of interest in seeing our teams back in action but we also need to make sure that we have a robust set of guidelines to ensure the safety of everyone."