Liz Ellis throws support behind Suncorp Super Netball players amidst ongoing pay dispute

80 athletes have not been paid in over two months.
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Sporting legend Liz Ellis has put Netball Australia on blast amidst an ongoing pay dispute between players in the Suncorp Super Netball league and the peak body over salaries. 

Players in the national competition, which consists of eight teams of ten players from across the country, have not been paid in two months due to the absence of a new collective player agreement. 

WATCH NOW: Netball World Cup Final Highlights from Australia vs England. Article continues after video. 

Currently, the 80 professional athletes are out of contract, with no ongoing job security nor income after mediation with Netball Australia fell through in early October. 

At the time, the peak body released a statement that any increase to players’ wages beyond “what was on the table” would be “irresponsible” and negatively impact funding for community and grassroots netball. 

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In response, the Australian Netball Players Association said the nine percent base wage increase of nine percent over three years and salary-cap increase of three percent over the same period of time was “unfair” and didn’t reflect the “value and contribution” of players. 

“What we have requested is affordable and sustainable to the game and promotes a genuine partnership to grow the game,” the Association also shared in a statement of their own. 

The Diamonds won the 2023 Women’s Netball World Cup against the English Roses. (Credit: Getty)

In an attempted show of solidarity with their Suncorp Super Netball sisters, Netball World Cup 2023 winners, the Australian Diamonds attempted a boycott of the annual Liz Ellis Diamond Awards, held in Melbourne on November 25. 

They were however issued legal threats by Netball Australia who allegedly reminded players that they were contractually obligated to attend the event. 

Liz, who despite being the namesake of the awards was unable to attend due to receiving an invitation last minute and having prior plans, made her thoughts on the issue very clear in an emotional statement shared on her Instagram account

Former Diamond Liz Ellis was quick to criticise the actions of Netball Australia. (Credit: Getty)

“My disappointment and embarrassment at not being able to attend turned into anger when I was made aware that current Diamond players and their advisers were threatened with possible legal action if they did not attend the dinner,” Liz penned. 

“As a former Diamonds captain, I cannot believe that the governing body of the sport I love would treat its Diamonds athletes, who are brilliant role models and ambassadors for netball with such callous disregard.”

“These are women who have not been paid in eight weeks. Who are fighting for fair pay and conditions not only for themselves but for the players who come after them.”

“Who consider themselves as custodians of the game. And who I suspect would love nothing more than to attend an event where their world-beating heroics of the past twelve months were to be celebrated.”

“Yet who felt so strongly about what they were fighting for, that they were prepared to forgo those celebrations,” the winner of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! Australia 2023 added. 

The Diamonds squad at the 2023 Liz Ellis Diamond Awards. (Credit: Getty)

The 50-year-old then posed a question to her tens of thousands of followers, and fans of the sport – is Netball Australia able to provide the leadership the game “desperately” needed? 

“This question must be asked not just by players, or ex-players like me, but by the whole system. And it is a question which needs an immediate answer.”

It is currently unclear if the 2024 Suncorp Super Netball season will be delayed, and no official start date has been confirmed by Netball Australia. 

Following the same timeline of 2023 however, it is predicted to start in March 2024 and run until July 2024 – with the Grand Final already confirmed to be taking place in Adelaide. 

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