Posted 30th May 2024

Statement from Team Bath Netball: Netball Super League 2.0

Following a formal tender process, Team Bath Netball (University of Bath) have been informed by England Netball that they have not been granted a licence to continue in the Netball Super League past the end of this current season.

This news will be a bitter disappointment to our fans across the southwest and understandably has left everyone involved in the franchise shocked and devastated.

Team Bath Netball have actively engaged with England Netball throughout the consultation and tender process for NSL 2.0 and have not only supported the ambitions of the league but have committed time and resource to proactively prepare the franchise for the next chapter of elite netball in the UK.

Despite submitting a tender that we believe presented an exciting and ambitious proposal for Netball Super League in the southwest, our tender did not meet all of the expected operating standards. One specific area in which the tender fell short of the expected operating standards related to the lack of arena provision. Moving netball into larger arenas is a core part of England Netball’s roadmap for NSL 2.0 and whilst discussions have been ongoing with potential partners in respect to this area, at present there are no arenas in the region that meet England Netball’s NSL 2.0 requirements.

For over two decades, the University of Bath has been an ever-present leader and supporter of high-performance netball, and the success of the Team Bath franchise is considered, by many, as the catalyst for the journey elite netball has been on in the UK. In addition to being a founding member of the Super League, Team Bath remains the most successful club in the history of the league, having won the title five times, and it has been the origin for countless legends of the game – many of whom are still leading the way in elite netball. We are incredibly proud of our heritage and the hundreds of individuals who have gone on to achieve impressive careers on and off the court, both domestically and on the world stage, and we have no doubt those who will be leaving the franchise at the end of the season will go on to achieve incredible things too.

The franchise has not only embraced its role in celebrating strong female role models but also its responsibility in creating them too, and it has been a privilege to support thousands of young netballers to develop and succeed in the southwest through our performance pathway and network of Athlete Development Centres. Whilst the panel’s decision excludes Team Bath from taking part in the NSL 2.0 competition, we are actively working with England Netball to safeguard the future of the Team Bath pathway and will communicate the outcome of these discussions as soon as possible.

Stephen Baddeley, Director of Sport for Team Bath at the University of Bath, commented: “The University is deeply disappointed to learn that Team Bath will not be included in NSL 2.0 from season 2025. We deeply regret that Team Bath’s bid to participate was unsuccessful, despite the tireless efforts and work behind the scenes to meet the requirements for NSL 2.0.

“Team Bath has a rich heritage in the Netball Super League and the University is extremely proud of the incredible achievements of the Team Bath Super League players, both past and present. They have been trailblazers in the world of elite netball and leave a lasting legacy and impact on women’s sport which will continue to inspire a generation of younger, aspiring players. The dedication and determination of all the staff – coaching, support, and volunteers is to be applauded. It is a huge disappointment not only for the players and staff but of course for our loyal Blue & Gold fans, and we thank them sincerely for their steadfast and enthusiastic support over the years.

“We would also like to record our appreciation to our main partners, Bath Building Society, Rengen Developments and Flyhawk, who have given the franchise and the players such great support and who have consistently shared in our passion for netball.”

As well as being disappointed for our staff and our players, Team Bath Netball know that our supporters and the netball community right across the southwest are also going to be heartbroken by this news. Simply put, the Blue and Gold fans are the best in the league and every season we are overwhelmed by their dedication and commitment to our team, with thousands of fans travelling from right across the region to cheer us on. Over the past few seasons attendances at our games have grown, and the noise and passion around our franchise has been unwavering, which makes this news even more difficult to accept.

Whilst the news is still very raw, everyone at Team Bath Netball is determined that we see out the 2024 season with the same focus we have had all season, and we have no doubt our fans will do the same. Whilst the franchise will not compete in NSL 2.0, we remain in discussions with England Netball about the future of the performance pathway in the southwest. We also want to reassure the southwest community that we are committed  to doing whatever we can to ensure that elite netball returns to the southwest at the earliest opportunity.

Our final home game at the Team Bath Arena will be tomorrow (Friday 31st May) vs Strathclyde Sirens. Tickets are still available by clicking here and we invite fans to fill the stands with Blue and Gold, and help us make the game the loudest one yet.

Whilst the timing of today’s announcement will likely mean some of our fans aren’t able to join us tomorrow, we are hoping to reveal details of a special event very shortly at which fans will be able to come and share their support and celebrate the deeply rooted netball heritage for which the Team Bath Netball franchise is known.

Read the England Netball statement on Super League 2.0 here.

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