Netball Superleague: 2020 season terminated with immediate effect

Reigning champions Manchester Thunder will not get the opportunity to defend their title in 2020

The 2020 Netball Superleague season has been terminated with immediate effect because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Governing body England Netball made the “difficult decision” following consultation with the league’s board, all 10 teams and stakeholders.

Instead a “standalone short-form” competition could be held in the autumn if “achievable and safe to do so”.

The sold-out Grand Final, scheduled for the Copper Box on 4 July, will no longer go ahead and fans with tickets will be offered a refund.

“It has become clear that large sporting gatherings will unlikely be deemed safe in coming months,” England Netball chief executive Fran Connolly said.

“And after lengthy discussions, we believe it would not be logistically possible or sustainable without crowds to reignite the season, which we are very disappointed to have to announce, but it’s vital we no longer keep teams and players in limbo on the matter.”

Manchester Thunder head coach Karen Greig said she felt England Netball had “gone a bit early with their decision” to terminate the season and her team “desperately wanted to defend our title”.

“Devastated the season has been null and voided. Was really hoping for some kind of resolve when safe to do so!” she added on Twitterexternal-link.

The season began in mid-February, but was stopped midway through the fourth round of fixtures.

In a statement, England Netball says it “carefully considered various scenarios”, including extending the season and resuming behind closed doors.

Manchester Thunder are the reigning champions, after beating Wasps in the 2019 Grand Final in London.

Thunder managing director Debbie Hallas said: “No-one wanted this season to end, especially as it had only just begun.

“But the uncertainty of these unparalleled times has led us, regretfully, to this situation.”

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