Fast5 Netball World Series
|Current season, competition or edition:
2013 Fast5 Netball World Series
|No. of teams||6|
|Most recent champion(s)||New Zealand|
|Most titles||New Zealand (4 times)|
The Fast5 Netball World Series is an international netball competition that was contested for the first time in October 2009. The new competition features modified "Fast5" rules, and has been likened to Twenty20 cricket and rugby sevens. The competition is scheduled to be held annually in England until at least 2011, and will be contested by the six top national netball teams in the world, according to the IFNA World Rankings.
Before 2008, the major competitions in international netball were the Netball World Championships and the netball event of the Commonwealth Games, both held every four years. First-tier national teams also participated in yearly test series, with others playing in regional events. However, several significant changes in international netball occurred in 2008. Changes to international test rules were finalised at an International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) congress in Auckland in 2007, and progressively rolled out across netball-playing countries the following year. The IFNA also introduced a new world rankings system to compare the performances of national teams. In England, a campaign was started advocating netball's inclusion in the Olympic Games, as a demonstration sport in 2012 and potentially as a competitive sport from 2016. In the Southern Hemisphere, the sport attained semi-professional status in Australia and New Zealand with the introduction of the ANZ Championship.
Also, in December 2008 a new international netball competition was announced, the World Netball Series, to be contested in 2009 under modified rules. The new rules had been trialled by England junior and senior squads over a 12-month period. DVDs were sent to coaches of the participating teams for consultation. Some of the new rules were announced in December 2008, including six-minute playing quarters and power plays; others were announced in February 2009.
The competition is held over three days, and is played under Fast5 rules. Each team plays each other once during the first two days in a round-robin format. The four highest-scoring teams from this stage progress to the finals, played on the final day of competition, in which the 1st-ranked team plays the 4th-ranked team, while 2nd plays 3rd. The winners of these two matches contest the Grand Final; the remaining teams contest the third- and fifth-place playoffs.
The first three editions of the tournament were held in England. Initially, Manchester was to host all three seasons in England at the MEN Arena. The venue is the largest indoor arena in Europe, capable of seating around 20,000 spectators. However, the 2010 tournament was held in Liverpool at the Echo Arena,as will the 2011 tournament.
|2009||MEN Arena||New Zealand||32-27||Jamaica||Australia||England||Malawi||Samoa|
|2010||Echo Arena Liverpool||New Zealand||28-26||England||Jamaica||Australia||Malawi||South Africa|
|2011||Echo Arena Liverpool||England||33-26||New Zealand||Australia||Jamaica||South Africa||Fiji|
|2012||Vector Arena||New Zealand||23-21||England||South Africa||Jamaica||Malawi||Australia|
|2013||Vector Arena||New Zealand||56-27||Australia||Jamaica||South Africa||Malawi||England|
The World Netball Series is organised by the International Netball Federation (INF), in conjunction with the national governing bodies of the six competing nations each year, UK Sport and the host city's local council. England Netball covers air travel, accommodation, food and local travel expenses for all teams during the competition, while the respective netball governing bodies cover player allowances.
Australian coach Norma Plummer greeted the new tournament positively: "If you want your sport to keep growing these days, it's got to become up with the times and keep having innovations that make the game exciting for not only the players, but all the spectators." But Plummer also expressed some reservations about power plays being used against substantially weaker teams, and also about penalty shootouts and the new centre pass rule.
Netball New Zealand (NNZ) Chief Executive Raelene Castle stated that she was "excited about what the new competition could bring to the ever-increasing profile of Netball internationally". However, Castle also acknowledged that the shortened version of the game "may not be for everyone". New Zealand netball and basketball player Donna Wilkins also stated her concerns about the sport becoming too similar to basketball.
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