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Hancock Prospecting pulls out of $15 million funding deal with Netball Australia after player revolt | Australian sport


Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting has withdrawn a lucrative financing deal Netball Australia after a player revolt against the company.

The mining company announced on Saturday it was withdrawing its $15 million funding from Netball Australia. Instead, he offered short-term funding until the organization found a new sponsor.

The Diamonds played without Hancock’s branding in their match against New Zealand this week, despite a sponsorship deal signed last month which is believed to give Hancock the rights to a single brand.

This led to speculation that the players had turned against Hancock Prospecting. The team reportedly sided with team member Donnell Wallam, an Indigenous player at the network who reportedly raised concerns about the company’s record on Indigenous issues.

In a statement, Hancock said his partnership with Netball Australia was based on “the continued enthusiasm Hancock and his executive chairman have shown for more than 30 years for the athletes who proudly represent our country”.

“Hancock appreciates the warm welcome and support from Netball Australia and because of this Hancock and Roy Hill have advised Netball Australia and Netball WA respectively that they will instead provide a four-month sponsorship if they and their players wish to accept this to continue funding the athletes and help netball as it arranges alternative funding and sponsorship,” the statement said.

It also said that Hancock and Rinehart believe it is “unnecessary to use sports organizations as a vehicle for social or political ends.”

“First, because sport is at its best when it is focused on good and fair competition, when dedicated athletes strive for excellence to achieve their sporting dreams and represent our country at its best,” the company said.

“Second, because there are more targeted and authentic ways to advance social or political causes without virtue signaling or self-promotion.”

Netball Australia said ahead of Sunday’s game that the team’s new uniforms had been delayed “pending the resolution of outstanding matters relating to the player’s temporary agreement and some shortages”.

Netball Australia has suffered losses of more than $7 million over two years related to COVID-19. Hancock signed a sponsorship deal worth $15 million over four years.

In a statement, Hancock Prospecting said the sponsorship deal would increase player salaries. He also said he did not want to add to the “divisiveness” within Netball Australia.

“Hancock and Roy Hill were not informed prior to the proposed partnership of the complexity of the existing issues between Netball Australia and the Players Association,” the statement said.

“This includes an effort by the Players’ Association to secure a very significant pay increase at a time when the sport is in a financial state and unable to provide such an increase.

“Hancock’s proposed sponsorship would allow for a significant increase in wages for the players which would otherwise not be possible given netball’s financial position.”

The company also criticized recent media reports.

“Unfortunately, recent media is not conducive to encouraging sports sponsorship,” the company said.

“Neither Hancock nor Ms. Rinehart ever requested or insisted that the athletes provide any thank you videos or messages – although thank you videos and messages were certainly received. Hancock and Mrs. Rinehart would only want athletes to wear the Hancock logo if they were proud of it.

“The recent media misrepresentations are disappointing, particularly given that at no stage did Hancock insist that her logo be worn on Australian Diamonds’ kit during the recent games in New Zealand, nor did Australian Diamonds refuse to wear Hancock’s logo.” .

Rinehart and Hancock sponsor many other sports, including the Australian Olympic Committee, Volleyball Australia, Rowing Australia, Synchronized Swimming Australia and Western Australian Swimming.

Netball Australia has been approached for comment.


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