Caribbean players set to benefit from new Super Netball salary deal
MELBOURNE, Australia (CMC) — Netballers from the Caribbean may all be breathing a huge sigh of relief over their immediate professional playing future in the Super Netball League (SNL), after the bitter pay dispute that shook the sport in Australia finally ended this past weekend.
The netballers, led by Jamaica defender Shamera Sterling, the SNL Player of the Year, were among players in the league who were not paid since the previous collective player agreement between Netball Australia (NA) and Australian Netball Players Association (ANPA) expiredon September 30.
Media reports indicate that NA and ANPA agreed on a new collective player agreement that will run until September 2026.
The new deal was finalised this past Saturday at a meeting that featured an appearance from federal government minister and former unions boss Bill Shorten, and a reiteration of the 21 unanimous resolutions presented by the players to NA this past Thursday.
The dispute erupted after ANPA rejected from NA and the eight SNL clubs an offer which put forward a “profit-sharing partnership model”, while the players were demanding a “revenue-sharing partnership model” for sponsorship money exceeding projections.
The new deal is a revenue-sharing agreement based on the players’ terms and is not reliant on the SNL breaking even, which was one of the concerns put forward by NA and the clubs.
The parties in the dispute also agreed that the significant debt of NA must be repaid first and that the contracting period for SNL clubs can now start.
The players came away from the negotiations with an 11 per cent increase on base salaries over three years, as well as three per cent annually on private health insurance contributions, and retroactive pay from October 1 — the date when all the players in the league became uncontracted and unpaid.
Additionally, there will be an immediate 10 per cent boost in the honorarium for training partners next year, followed by a three per cent increase each subsequent year.
The maximum total base salary payment, currently about US$430,000, will rise to about $450,000 next year and will see further increases to a little more than $480,000 by 2026, with the minimum payments up from almost $390,000 to a little more than $400,000 and eventually a little above $430,000.
Each SNL club now has the option to nominate an 11th player from its broader squad who will be eligible for selection under a six-month minimum salary contract of a little more than $14,000, subject to age, matches played, Australian representation, and potential exemptions.
Netball Australia also agreed to the players’ terms over a new commercial model that features concessions regarding the use of the players’ intellectual property in promotional material.
Marketing-related deals will double immediately to a cap of about $26,000 a player and $105,000 a team.
Other notable initiatives include the establishment of a professional netball committee with formal ANPA representation, aiming to collaboratively explore new opportunities for athlete progress and league amplification.
A new funding and governance model for ANPA is also in the works.
Sterling was named SNL Player of the Year during the NA awards two Saturdays ago, after a stellar campaign with first-time SNL champions Adelaide Thunderbirds during which she led the way with 118 deflections and made 46 interceptions.
Fellow Jamaican defenders Latanya Wilson (Sterling’s T-birds teammate), and Jodi-Ann Ward earned selection to the SNL Team of the Year.
Four other Jamaicans — Jhaniele Fowler, Romelda Aiken-George, Shimona Nelson, and Kadian Dehaney — and ace Trinidad & Tobago goal shooter Samantha Wallace all played in the league this past season, which ended on July 8.