Coronavirus: Vitality Netball Superleague 2020 season cancelled
Fran Connolly, CEO of England Netball: "We have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 VNSL season"
By Sky Sports Netball
Last Updated: 27/05/20 2:21pm
The Vitality Netball Superleague 2020 season has been cancelled due to the continued impact of the coronavirus pandemic, England Netball has announced.
The 2020 season had initially commenced on February 22 before being halted on March 15, after just three full rounds and two additional matches were completed.
Since that point, meetings have been ongoing between the governing body and the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) board about potential routes forward for the elite game in England.
In a statement announcing the season's cancellation, England Netball shared that various scenarios had been considered, including extending the season and the option of resuming the remaining matches behind closed doors.
The statement added: "Concluding the season now is the most appropriate measure to guarantee the safety of the netball family, protect the long term future of all VNSL teams and ensure the VNSL can take necessary steps to come back in a strong position for a successful season in 2021.
We have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 VNSL season. It has become clear that large sporting gatherings are unlikely to be deemed safe in coming months. After lengthy discussions we believe it would not be logistically possible, or sustainable without crowds, to reignite the season.
Fran Connolly, CEO of England Netball
"Despite the 2020 season coming to an end now, England Netball and the VNSL Board are continuing to review the option of a standalone short form VNSL competition or a potential event in the autumn, if it's achievable and safe to do so."
Netball's reaction to season cancellation
Vitality Netball Superleague's head coaches, players and fans have reacted to the news that the 2020 season has been cancelled.
The governing body shared that it recommended that Superleague players had a minimum of four weeks preparation and training time before taking part in any competition.
With this lead time, and needing access to training environments with appropriate coaching support, training equipment and risk mitigations, England Netball added that any potential restart would have been "well into the autumn at the earliest".
As a result of that timing, issues regarding player contracts arise alongside those related to the 2021 campaign and the international season.
The Netball Performance League [NPL], which was also suspended in March, has also been concluded for the 2020 season.