Netball Australia boss Kelly Ryan has denied reports that the sport is facing financial ruin, but said they would need to do everything they could to find new sources of revenue.
The sport had recently drawn the ire of fans after confirming that the grand final would be played in Perth, regardless of which teams qualified – a decision that was entirely financially-motivated.
But now, in response to claims that the sport is on the verge of bankruptcy, the governing body was forced to issue a statement on Friday afternoon.
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“We understand the financial position we are in, and we have been transparent about it,” Ryan said in the statement.
“We are not on the brink of financial ruin. Importantly, we know what is needed to protect the future of Netball Australia.”
A recent report from News Corp claimed the sport is in debt for $4 million, which has to be paid off by the end of this year.
Ryan told ABC Radio this morning that the sport would even consider taking money from gambling companies, saying it’s not “out of the realms of possibility”.
The wording of Friday afternoon’s statement did not specifically reference gambling, but conceded that operational changes were coming.
“We must continue to explore financial and commercial opportunities to ensure our organisation is positioned for growth,” it read.
“We will have to make difficult decisions along the way, but we know these decisions will help us rebound as quickly as we can.”
Despite the ominous wording, Ryan pointed out that the sport was still played by 1.2 million people across the country, and that the national team was ranked No.1 in the world.
“Netball is a place for women and girls to shine, but it is also a thriving community for men and boys,” she said.
“From the grassroots to the international level – Australia has a proud and successful history with the sport.
“It also has a bright future.”