Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting has pulled out of a $15 million sponsorship deal with Netball Australia after players boycotted the company’s logo.
It is understood Donnell Wallam, the first Aboriginal player to represent the Diamonds in 20 years, has privately raised concerns about the link with Ms Rinehart’s father.
Iron ore magnate Lang Hancock, who died in 1992, said some Aboriginal people should be sterilized.
Other players were reported to have asked not to have the logo on the team’s uniforms in solidarity with Ms Wall.
On Saturday, Hancock Prospecting released a statement saying it would withdraw from the sponsorship deal.
“Hancock Prospecting and Roy Hill (majority ownership of Hancock) are regrettably discontinuing their support of Netball but are offering short-term funding to enable Netball to find an alternative sponsor,” the company said.
The company said in a statement that Hancock’s proposed sponsorship would allow an increase in wages for players that would otherwise not be possible given Netball Australia’s financial position.
“Hancock and likewise Roy Hill entered into this proposed partnership in good faith and on the basis of the representations and consequent understanding that Netball Australia and the sport’s key stakeholder groups, including the Australian Diamonds, were united in their support for one of Western Australia. leading mining companies become their main sponsors.
“Hancock did not insist that his name be worn by ‘Australian Diamonds’ in the current Constellation Cup series while he is overseas and was informed that the netballers had no qualms about wearing the name on the team’s kit for the series.”
“Hancock has informed Netball Australia that he has withdrawn the proposed partnership with immediate effect.”
Roy Hill will also end its sponsorship with Netball WA to become the main partner of West Coast Fever.
“Hancock and Roy Hill have advised Netball Australia and Netball WA respectively that they will instead secure a 4-month sponsorship if they and their players choose to accept it, in order to continue to fund athletes and assist Netball as it arranges alternative funding and sponsorship,” – the company reported.
Netball Australia sources reportedly said the concern over the company’s logo was not related to climate change.
Netball Players Association chief Catherine Harby-Williams told The Australian the players had a “sister-in-arms” philosophy.
“The team didn’t want her teammate … to make her Australian debut in a different uniform,” she said.
Ms Rinehart is one of the largest private sponsors of Australian sport.
Her company was to contribute $15 million over four years to Netball Australia.
“Initiatives that promote the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians, fund services in remote and rural communities, encourage participation in education and the arts, are funded by Hancock and Roy Hill and many other industry players,” the company said in a statement.
The companies have funded a number of indigenous scholarship programs.
“In the past seven years alone, Hancock and Roy Hill have contributed more than $300 million in royalties to Indigenous Australians. Royalty payments represent just one part of our contribution to Indigenous Australians, and our wider engagement extends to providing jobs, training, business opportunities and supporting a wide range of health and cultural programs that have real value.”