The deadline for teams qualifying for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next year has been postponed by the International Netball Federation (INF). This is due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
As hosts of the Games, England, who are also defending champions, are guaranteed a place in the competition. The other 11 spots will be chosen based on their world ranking.
Due to the knock-on effects of the coronavirus pandemic on events globally, the INF have changed the structure of the world ranking and have delayed the qualification date by two months.
The decision was made to allow those hoping to be part of the tournament next year enough time to organise matches.
A new deadline of January 31 has been decided by the INF and the Commonwealth Games Federation. The initial date of November 30 has been altered.
The new structure to determine a nation’s world ranking by the INF will see the earliest year of four years worth of results eliminated. This would originally occur on June 30 every year.
A team’s new ranking will be based on their recent form as opposed to their performance in international events.
Speaking on the changes made to qualification for the Games, Liz Nicholl, the president of the INF said:
“We were keen to recognise the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our members while providing the maximum opportunity for teams to play qualification matches for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
“The two decisions should be considered in parallel – the first decision removes one aspect of uncertainty for all teams.
“The second decision recognises the day to day challenges our members face during the ongoing pandemic and the difficulty of returning to international play.
“In making this decision, we considered the perspectives of those nations currently in the Commonwealth Games qualification zone and those that aspire to be so.
“On balance, the Board felt it important to provide maximum opportunity to play for qualification for a significant event in the global sporting calendar.”
It has been decided the annual update will now happen after the qualification date for next year’s Commonwealth Games.