The Olympic Games: Why Is Netball Not An Olympic Sport?

‘The Olympic Games: Why Is Netball Not An Olympic Sport?’

It’s 3 year’s since the England netball team shocked the world to win a historic Gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, beating home favourites, Australia on the Gold Coast. This win, prompted many questions here in the UK about why netball is not an Olympic sport?

As a specialist female founded netball teamwearbrand specialising in custom netball dresses and apparel Flyhawk are passionate about raising the profile of women’s sport and uniting the netball community. That’s why ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics we consider why netball is yet to feature, with netball players and fans across the world lobbying for netball at the Olympics.

One of the core recommendations from the IOC is that team sports and events should ensure an equal number of teams and where appropriate, the same number of athletes for both genders.


So is the lack of gender balance in netball holding the sport back?

Netball sits in a really unique position, offering women and girls a safe place to play sport. But, could an increase in men’s netball elevate the sport to new heights.

This is a difficult balance as former England Netball CEO, Jo Adams previously discussed with the BBC [] “all our insights say the second men start to play, women will stop… we are also fighting for the money to keep our national team on court, so why would we divert money to support a men’s pathway?”

Clare Briegal, chef executive of the INF, commented for the same article “the IOC do not see the gender balance as a barrier and rather recognise that there is a place for women-only programmes that provide a safe space for women to play sport.”


Lack of global presence

Netball has been a core sport in the Commonwealth Games since 1998, and it is therefore no surprise that the top 24 teams in the world are all Commonwealth nations.

In 1995, netball became a recognised sport of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It is therefore eligible for inclusion in the Olympics; however, an application to feature at Tokyo 2020 was unsuccessful mainly due to the sport’s lack of presence in Japan.

Currently over 20million people play netball worldwide, however the absence of powerhouses China and Russia is a major drawback.


Looking ahead

Ahead of every Olympic Games, the IOC gives the hosts the chance to bring in one or more sports on a temporary basis. For Tokyo, five new additions included baseball/softball, sport climbing, surfing, karate and skateboarding.

The following two Olympics to be held will be Paris, 2024 and Los Angeles, 2028. However, neither France nor the United States are established netball nations so it would feel like the best chance for netball’s inclusion in the Olympics will be if Queensland wins their bid for the 2032 Summer Games. With Australia being an integral netball nation there would be a strong case for the inclusion of netball as an Olympic sport.

If a sport succeeds at the temporary level, then there is a good chance that it will be accepted on a permanent basis, or at least that it will be invited back at the next games.


Why we support netball

Netball is an inclusive sport, played and watched by people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds and the Flyhawk founders are on a mission to build a market-leading brand for the Global Netball community.

Flyhawk’s designers have created a stellar collection of female team apparel including custom netball dresses and netball teamwear, inspired by a passion for raising the profile of women’s sport and a love for Netball.

At our core, Flyhawk represents the inspirational characters in netball, the go getters, the team players, the individuals that empower others, and those that challenge the status quo. We are committed to growing Flyhawk into the most exciting brand in World Netball through building a community that netballers and female athletes can belong to, our ‘flock’.


Join our Flock

Flyhawk focuses innovation on every aspect of netball kit. We think about how to create different products for different playing abilities to set a new standard for the sport.


Custom netball kits are available to everyone and our netball kit designer allows you and your team mates to design your own netball dress, get an instant quote and share your creations with your squad.