England Netball and England Men’s and Mixed Netball Association (EMMNA) are excited to announce a pioneering new partnership which will see both organisations join forces to strategically develop and grow the male game in England.
EMMNA was founded in 2019, to develop and grow men’s and mixed netball for all ages in England, with the mission to establish a pathway to play the game for men and boys at grassroots, national and international level within both the social and competitive netball landscapes.
The partnership, a significant one for a national governing body in netball globally, will focus on creating more opportunities for people to play netball, helping to encourage new audiences to take part in the sport, ensuring it is welcoming and inclusive for all.
Whilst England Netball’s delivery focus will remain to increase the opportunities for women and girls to play the game, rebuilding grassroots netball following the global pandemic and addressing the gender participation gap, this landmark partnership will see England Netball formally recognise EMMNA delivered activity, to unlock more opportunities for male participants to join the Netball Family.
With 20 clubs now established with men’s and mixed teams in England, nearly 20,000 men playing fortnightly and many boys playing netball regularly at primary school, England Netball pledge to support EMMNA with the development of the club, league and national structure for the men’s game, sharing significant knowledge, strategic insight and experience to help create a blueprint for successful and sustainable growth. This will include helping to grow EMMNA’s competition and events calendar, building on the recent success of the inaugural ‘Men’s and Mixed National Championships,’ and working in partnership to evolve the event experience.
As part of the new partnership, and to support the development of EMMNA’s competitive squads, both organisations are thrilled to announce that an England Development Squad will face two leading men’s competitive sides in the upcoming Vitality Netball ‘Roses Reunited’ series. These games will be played at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 December respectively ahead of the Vitality Roses taking to the court to face the Jamaica Sunshine Girls.
Whilst the partnership is an exciting one, it is also considered in its approach. Through consultation with England Netball members, it was clear that there was a desire for men and boys to be welcomed into the game and play a greater part in the future of what has been a traditionally female sport. However, it was also highlighted that the unique female-focused foundations must be protected, and the safe space the sport provides for women and girls not lost, particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic and the disproportionate impact it has had on female activity levels. England Netball and EMMNA believe, through this partnership, it is possible to do both.
Fran Connolly, CEO of England Netball, said: “We recognise the brilliant progress EMMNA have made in growing the male game in recent years, and are excited to formally welcome them to the Netball Family. Supporting them on their mission is not only a pivotal moment for our sport but one that demonstrates a deliberate intent from England Netball to take our game to new audiences.
“In support of World Netball’s goals to expand netball’s reach globally, to take concrete steps to maximise and advance male participation and their intent to explore inclusion in the Brisbane Olympics in 2032, we recognise that as a sport we need to continue to adapt and evolve in order to thrive in the coming years. This partnership will play a key role in expanding the reach and audience for the sport, enabling us to together build and deliver a strategic plan to realise our joint future ambition and seek to lead a global movement.
“It is also important that we continue to protect something that is unique in our sport, those female-foundations. Rebuilding and growing the female game post-pandemic remains our immediate priority, and in doing so we will maintain and protect that safe space for women and girls to play and flourish in our sport.
“EMMNA share our vision to grow the game at every level and we cannot wait to journey together to continue to increase male participation in netball, raise the profile and visibility of our sport, and bring the joy of netball to more people than ever before.”
Ryan Allan, EMMNA President and Founder, added: “EMMNA was set up in 2019 by a group of passionate volunteers who loved the game and wanted to create more opportunities for men and boys to get involved and experience the brilliant impact netball has on people’s lives.
“This partnership is a significant one not just for our organisation, but for every male in England that wants to play or get involved with the game. We are very proud to be part of the Netball Family and whilst we recognise its unique and special place for females, we are hugely excited by the opportunity to partner with England Netball to open up the game and increase male participation in the sport.
“Both England Netball and EMMNA bring individual strengths to the partnership but share one mission – to grow the game – by igniting a greater visibility for netball in this country and across the world to inspire future generations to play and love the sport like we do.”
For more news and information about EMMNA visit here.
Vitality Netball ‘Roses Reunited’ series schedule:
|Sunday 28 November||Vitality Roses v Jamaica||Copper Box Arena
|Saturday 4 December||England Development v London Giants
Vitality Roses v Jamaica
|Sunday 5 December||England Development v Knights Men’s
Vitality Roses v Jamaica
Tickets to both ‘Vitality Netball Roses Reunited’ series games, now also featuring an England Development side v London Giants on December 4 and Knights Men’s on December 5 at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena are available to buy here.