Netball NZ cancels revised Beko league due to Covid alert levels

By Te Ao - Māori News

Netball New Zealand has announced that the revised 2020 Beko netball league has been cancelled due to the shift in Covid-19 alert levels.

The league, which sits directly below the ANZ premiership and has proven a key stepping-stone to the elite game, was set to start on 29 August under a condensed schedule with six teams competing over three weekends.

But with the New Zealand government’s announcement that the Auckland region would remain at alert level 3 until midnight Sunday, it was decided the league could not go ahead.

“I feel for the teams and management who have prepared for essentially two versions of the Beko netball league and will not get to compete this season,” Netball New Zealand's head of events Kate Agnew said in a statement.

“But as Auckland teams have ceased training at alert level 3, and at alert level 2 in Auckland with it now being groups of 10 for gatherings, we felt it was the right call to cancel the league."

Auckland, Te Aroha and Wellington were set to host the competition but the uncertainty over the length of lockdowns and changes to the requirements at each level means the call to cancel the 2020 league was made.

“We are extremely disappointed for all of those involved as we have seen over the past four years the impact the Beko netball league has for those athletes, coaches and officials striving to take their game further.”

Central Manawa is the three-time defending champions with Southern Blast the only other team to have won the league.

The Beko netball league had been cancelled earlier this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic but a shortened version was relaunched with funding support from Sport New Zealand.