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Franchises asked to bid for Netball Superleague place

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The number of elite franchises in netball may increase or decrease after the sport’s governing body kicked off a review of the structure of the Vitality Netball Superleague.

England Netball has invited ‘expressions of interest’ for clubs, associations, institutions and organisations keen to enter a franchise in the league from 2017 in a cycle that will run until 2021.

A tender process is being enacted which will result in between six and ten franchises being awarded a place in the Superleague. The league currently has eight franchises: Celtic Dragons, Hertfordshire Mavericks, Yorkshire Jets, Loughborough Lightning, Manchester Thunder, Team Northumbria, Team Bath and Surrey Storm.

A decision made by England Netball will be based on the governance, financial sustainability and viability of home facilities.

All eight current franchises will be invited to submit a tender, while a franchise from the Birmingham area is expected to make a bid.

“Our ultimate aim is not only to make England the top ranked international side, but also to create a dynamic domestic competition which is admired by netball athletes and fans around the world,” said England Netball chief executive Joanna Adams.

“We want an environment which breeds success for athletes, coaches, officials and franchises. The Superleague should be inspirational, innovative and commercially successful.”

On 1 March, tender application packs will be sent to interested parties, followed by a 12 May application deadline. Prospective franchises will find out if they are successful on 15 June and will start to compete from January 2017.

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The number of elite franchises in netball may increase or decrease after the sport’s governing body kicked off a review of the structure of the Vitality Netball Superleague.
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