The Netball Super League (NSL) and England Netball have today confirmed that Wasps Netball will regrettably not be in a position to compete in the NSL moving forwards.
It has however been confirmed that all player pathway activity will be maintained through an England Netball operated Central Player Pathway Programme.
Prior to Wasps Holdings Limited entering administration, there had been hope that a buyer could be found for the entire sporting assets, including Netball. However, as no such buyer could be found, the company entered administration and ceased trading in October, resulting in the loss of the shared multi-sport infrastructure that Wasps Netball previously benefitted from.
In recent weeks, a number of interested parties have stepped forward and engaged in conversations with FRP Advisory (the administrators) and England Netball to try and secure a separate netball specific solution. However, following a robust assessment process the Boards of the Netball Super League and England Netball have sadly concluded that no proposal could evidence, with sufficient certainty, an ability to deliver the full requirements of an NSL franchise in the time available.
Since Wasps’ inception as a club, they have brilliantly entertained the Netball Family both on and off the court and given their loyal fans many wonderful memories. Joining the NSL in 2017, Wasps secured back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018, with the Coventry-based team having attracted some of the league’s most high-profile players, leaving its mark on netball history. A testament to every single person who has contributed to, supported, represented and believed in Wasps Netball Club.
The 2023 NSL season, due to commence on 11 February, will now be contested between the ten remaining clubs and an updated fixtures list for the season has been published. The NSL Board has also activated an amendment to the NSL rules to reopen the signing window, allowing Wasps players to be signed as training partners for other clubs and to be able to take to court as replacement players, if and when opportunities are presented. Work will continue with England Netball’s ongoing professionalisation review to ensure the future success of the league and clubs.
Chief Executive of England Netball Fran Connolly commented: “It has been exceptionally difficult to see the situation unfold at Wasps and a highly challenging time for all involved in Wasps Netball, particularly the staff and players. Wasps Netball have delivered many successes during their time in the league. As two-time Champions with a loyal fan following, they have inspired and developed many players who will continue the Wasps legacy.
“Whilst we never gave up hope of finding a successful outcome, our hearts go out to everyone who is impacted by this sad news. I would like to express my gratitude and pay tribute to everyone involved for their patience, support and engagement throughout these last few weeks. I’d also like to acknowledge the hard work that has been invested to try and find a solution, as well as the invaluable help from the Netball Players Association in supporting the players during this difficult time.
“Our focus now is to give clarity and certainty to players and staff who are impacted, and support them to return to courts, albeit different courts, as soon as possible.”
In addition, David Parsons, England Netball Director of Performance added: “As the governing body for netball in England, we have a responsibility to provide a pathway that is accessible for any talented girl anywhere in the country, capable of providing her with high quality experiences and support that will enable her to flourish and soar. We will therefore be taking over responsibility for delivering the pathway in the territory previously covered by Wasps.”
This will protect the development and playing opportunities for all pathway athletes as well as the existing coaching and support roles. The responsibility for the player pathway will be transferred to England Netball with immediate effect and will include the U15, U17, U19 and U21 squads, allowing selected teams to compete in the Netball Performance League (NPL) competition scheduled to begin in December.
Andrew Sheridan, Joint Administrator, said: “We’ve worked tirelessly with the Netball Super League and England Netball in an effort to find a solution that would allow Wasps Netball to move forward, and would like to thank them for their engagement and support during this process.
“Despite all of our best efforts and interest from a number of parties, it has, regrettably, not been possible to find a solution in the time available. We know that this will be incredibly disappointing news for all involved with Wasps Netball and their supporters, and we will continue to provide all support to those employees of the club who have been affected by the administration.”