Visit Victoria has come to Netball Australia’s aid announcing a $15 million partnership with the organisation in the wake of Gina Rinehart pulling her sponsorship.
Victorian taxpayers will foot the bill that Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting had initially pledged before players took issue with the company’s record with First Nation’s people.
The sponsorship will run for close to five years until June 2027.
BREAKING: Victoria to become the home of the Origin Australian Diamonds, hosting at least one Test Match per year, for the next five years. pic.twitter.com/5nFvUEjSFy— Origin Australian Diamonds (@AussieDiamonds) October 31, 2022
As part of the deal, the Australian netball team will play five test matches and hold training camps in Victoria between 2023 and 2026, according to 7news.
The 2023 Super Netball Grand Final will also be played in Victoria regardless of which two teams make the final.
Premier Daniel Andrews said: “Victoria is our nation’s sporting capital and its best tourist destination – it’s only right we launch this new partnership to back elite netball in Australia and promote our state to the world.
“This partnership isn’t just about elite netballers – we’re proud to be supporting grassroots netball clubs and increasing women’s participation in sport in every corner of the state.”
Netball Australia CEO Kelly Ryan said Visit Victoria was one of many potential partners who had reached out after the deal with the mining magnate.
She says she was ‘delighted’ with the partnership which was ‘very different’ to the one offered by Rinehart and her company.
“So [they] cannot be compared in any way, shape or form, they're two very, very different partnerships," she said.
"And this partnership values the content that we offer, so everything from pathway events, through to the elite competition."
Adding: “The partnership will guarantee Victorians the opportunity to experience more netball across the next four and a half years.”
The Netball Australia players had taken umbrage with offensive comments made by Rinehart's late father Lang Hancock about First Nations people back in 1984.
With Indigenous player Donnell Wallam on their side, they weren’t comfortable with sporting a logo with such negative implications.
While Ryan maintained that the relationship between Rinehart and Netball Australia ended on good terms, the 68-year-old launched a scathing attack on the players.
"Hancock and its executive chairman Mrs Rinehart consider that it is unnecessary for sports organisations to be used as the vehicle for social or political causes," Hancock Prospecting said in a statement.
The statement added: "Secondly, because there are more targeted and genuine ways to progress social or political causes without virtue signalling or for self-publicity."
They said they did not want 'to add to netball's disunity problems' as it pulled the multi-million dollar funding deal.
It was a huge financial loss for the organisation at the time, however, Netball Australia are now set for a huge boost.
Featured Image Credit: PA Images / Alamy. Gina Rinehart/Facebook.
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