Hancock Prospecting has announced it is withdrawing its proposed sponsorship deal with Netball Australia, but says it will provide short-term funding to allow Netball to arrange an alternative sponsor.
Roy Hill, majority-owned by Hancock Prospecting, will also end its sponsorship deal with Netball Western Australia.
Hancock is owned by billionaire mining magnate Gina Rinehart.
It comes after players raised concerns about the partnership because of Hancock Prospecting’s track record with Indigenous people and the environment.
On 17 October, at the height of the tension, the then head of Netball Australia, Marina Goh, resigned.
In a statement released on Saturday, Hancock Prospecting said it was unaware of “the complexity of the issues that previously existed between Netball Australia and the Players Association”.
“Hancock and, by extension, Roy Hill, have entered into these proposed partnerships in good faith and based on the statements and resulting understanding that Netball Australia and the sport’s key stakeholder groups, including the Australian Diamonds, are united in their support of one of the Western Australia. leading mining companies become their main sponsors,” the statement said.
“Particularly given that Hancock is the most successful private company in Australia, indeed, in Australian history, and Australian Diamonds is committed to being a very successful Australian netball team.”
The statement also addressed rumors that players were boycotting uniforms with the Hancock Prospecting logo.
“Contrary to recent media reports, Hancock did not insist that his name be worn by the Australian Diamonds in the current Constellation Cup series while he was overseas and was informed that the netballers had no qualms about wearing that name on the team dress for the series,” the statement said. .
“Furthermore, Hancock does not support gambling or smoking.”
Hancock Prospecting said it had informed Netball Australia that it had withdrawn from the proposed partnership with immediate effect.
NA chairwoman Wendy Archer said she understood Hancock Prospecting’s decision.
“We are grateful that Hancock Prospecting has continued to support our sport throughout the recent turbulence and regret the impact this has had on the company,” said Mrs Archer.
“This has been a challenging period for all involved and although all parties have made every effort to resolve the issues surrounding the sensitivity of the partnership, unfortunately we have not been able to reach a mutually beneficial outcome.”
Mrs Archer confirmed that Hancock Prospecting had agreed to provide four months of funding to support the organization in the near term.