New Zealand is leading the way with a Netball world first in advocating for those in control of the game with the establishment of a New Zealand Netball Umpires’ Association.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed off between Netball New Zealand (NNZ) and the newly formed New Zealand Netball Umpires’ Association (NZNUA), with a key objective to support the country’s High Performance Umpires.

NNZ Chief Executive Jennie Wyllie said it was a significant move which would create structure and ensure a closer working relationship between NNZ and the NZNUA.

“It is important that, like the players who have the Players’ Association, there was a voice for the Umpires who could support and advocate for them,” she said.

“We recognise the importance of quality High Performance Umpiring in New Zealand, which will also have a significant benefit on the international game.”

She said the relationship would ensure that the two parties would work more closely together with the best interests of the game in mind.

“New Zealand has a committed group of officials and we want to make sure that our Umpires are the best and most respected Umpires in the world.”

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) would also provide the terms and conditions on which contracted Umpires would officiate in elite competitions in New Zealand.

Experienced international umpire Jono Bredin, who will head the NZNUA, said it was an exciting initiative which would not only strengthen ties with NNZ but also promote the role of Umpiring in Netball throughout the country.

“It is important that we continually attract new Umpires but also work hard to retain those who are dedicated at all levels by advancing their interests and welfare,” he said.

“I believe there is an understanding that our elite Umpires are high performance athletes and I think this relationship will underpin the importance of having high quality Umpiring in netball in this country.”

The MOU was signed off between the NNZ and the NZNUA in February to cover the next 12 months when it will be reviewed.

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