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    Netball Australia’s major sponsorship deal in trouble as players protest

    Hancock Prospecting’s sponsorship of Australia’s national netball team is in limbo following protests from the players.

    The Diamonds, Australia’s women’s netball team, appeared in uniforms without the sponsor’s logos during recent games in New Zealand, sparking controversy about the deal.

    Last month Netball Australia announced a four-year sponsorship deal with the mining company Hancock Prospecting worth $15m. The deal has been labelled one of the “most significant investments” in Netball and comes amid the sport’s worst financial crisis after losses of more than $7m in the last two years.

    The Diamonds players have raised issues with the sponsorship deal due to the company, and its owner, billionaire Gina Rineheart, history of climate denial and extreme views about Indigenous Australians.

    Netball Australia said the new uniforms, which would feature the new sponsor logos, were delayed “pending the resolution of outstanding matters relating to the player interim agreement and certain sensitivities”.

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    “This delay allows time to ensure players remain focused on the Constellation Cup competition and for Netball Australia and the Australian Netball Players Association to resolve these matters in an appropriate time frame.

    “Netball Australia is committed to continuing these conversations and working with all parties to the benefit of our sport,” the statement continued.

    “The Hancock Prospecting partnership is one of the most significant investments in our sport; $15m dollars will be provided over four years with 100% directed at players, coaches and the Diamonds high-performance program, providing the opportunity to help grow and strengthen netball.

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    “Netball Australia, Hancock Prospecting and the Diamonds will continue to work together for the benefit of the entire sport.”

    Hancock Prospecting is a significant backer of Australian sports with sponsorships and partnerships in swimming, synchronised swimming, rowing and women’s volleyball. Hancock Prospecting also invests multi-million dollar support for the Australian Olympic Committee.

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