Netball Makes big rush for inclusion in CAC Games

The Americas Federation of Netball Associations (AFNA) is making a huge effort to get the sport included on the sports programme of the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games and it has the full backing of the International Netball Federation (INF).

Already, AFNA’s application for inclusion was well received by the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organisation (CACSO), proprietors of the quadrennial CAC Games. This followed an official request to CACSO which passed it on to its Technical Commission headed by Humberto Cintron of Puerto Rico. A survey was conducted to ascertain whether the sport me the CACSO requirement of being played in a minimum of 10 member countries and had the support of their NOCs.

The CACSO Executive received the Technical Commission’s report in May 2019 and approve the inclusion of Netball on its sports programme. The General Assembly of CACSO, scheduled for 29 – 31 October 2019 in Panama City, Panama.

Meanwhile, AFNA is not sitting on its laurels. Over the past several weeks the organisation has written to all CACSO members seeking their support. A copy of AFNA’s letter is attached:

Dear President

I write on behalf of the Executive and Members of the Americas Federation of Netball Associations (AFNA). We are keenly interested to have the sport of netball included in the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games.

We are very pleased to note that CACSO’s Executive Committee, at the recent meeting in Panama City duly approved the Technical Commission’s recommendations to include Netball as one of the new sports on the CAC Games programme. The purpose of this letter is to introduce Netball to you and to seek your support at the General Assembly in October in Panama. We hope to convince host country Panama to include it as one of the sports on the Games Programme in 2022.

INF is the worldwide governing body for Netball. It was created in 1960 with the fundamental purpose to promote, improve and grow netball globally, in accordance with the ideals and objectives of the International Olympic Committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation in which membership exists. The Netball world is divided into five (5) regions: ASIA, AFRICA, EUROPE, OCEANIA and our region – the AMERICAS.

The Americas Federation of Netball Associations (AFNA) is the region’s governing body. The Americas is the largest region and covers countries in the Caribbean, North, South and Central America. While we currently lead seventeen (17) member countries including the USA and Canada, our aim is to cultivate the remaining forty (40) countries to play Netball. Already we are making inroads in South America spearheaded by our Member Argentina.

Netball is a vibrant global game that is played in over seventy eight (78) member countries with in excess of 20 million participants worldwide. The game has been played in the Caribbean since 1947. By 1957 international netball tournaments were being played in and amongst each of the ten (10) island territories which made up the West Indies Federation namely Monserrat, Grenada, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Vincent, Barbados, Antigua Barbuda, St. Kitts, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago and there was an Association in each island controlling the event.

Over the years, the popularity of the sport has increased exponentially. It has been played in the Commonwealth Games and has been a core sport since 1998. Netball is increasing its profile and visibility through its inclusion in multi-sport games in other INF regions – such as the African National Olympic Committee Association (ANOCA) Youth Games, the Mini Pacific Games in the Oceania Region and the South East Asian (SEA) Games in Asia. We continue to strive to be added to the Olympic Programme. For the sport of Netball and more-so in the Americas region, inclusion in the CAC Games would be a first and positive step in this direction. We strongly believe that Netball would enhance the programmes of these prestigious Games. The Pan American Games would be our next stop.

Already Netball is played in thirteen (13) of your member countries and the respective National Associations are affiliated with their National Olympic Committees. The rules are available in English, Chinese, Spanish and French, with plans to add Portuguese.

At present the World and Regional Tournaments that specifically relate to our region are as follows:
· Netball World Cup (NWC)
· Netball World Youth Cup (NWYC)
· Commonwealth Games
· Commonwealth Youth Games 2021
· AFNA Regional Qualifiers for NWC & NWYC
· AFNA Regional High School Championship
· ECCB/OECS Tournament
· Caribbean Netball Association Under 16 Championship
· Other regional tournaments amongst member countries

Currently three (3) of our members are amongst the top twelve (12) in the netball world rankings: JAMAICA – 3rd, Trinidad and Tobago – 10th, and Barbados – 12th. The CAC Games would provide a pathway to make this region more dominant in the world. Even with the limited international playing opportunities within the Americas region, several young women from this region are playing professionally in Super Leagues in England and Australia. The possibility exists for more opportunities such as this and participation in the CAC Games would make this a reality.

INF and AFNA are committed to the empowerment of women and girls and the ability of netball to do this is extraordinary. This empowerment is achieved by working with our Members from grassroots to elite with a mission to provide safe and supportive environments to develop life skills and to sustain growth.

I carry the aspirations of the thousands of young women and girls who dream of joining their colleagues in other sporting disciplines in participating in these prestigious Games. We hope that the CACSO organization will accept this sport to be included in the 2022 Games and by so doing demonstrate to the world the strength and dynamics of sport in this region.

We (INF and AFNA) hope to be afforded the opportunity to make a presentation at your General Assembly in October 2019 and to answer any questions you may have regarding Netball in the Americas Region.

Regards

Marva Bernard OD
President