How Netball Australia faces financial nightmare after Gina Rinehart pulled $15m sponsorship when indigenous player refused to use her company logo: ‘No more money for players’
- Netball Australia still in debt after sponsor saga
- Gina Rinehart withdrew $15 million from sports
- Fallout continues five months later
Netball Australia is struggling to pay off $4.2m of debt after losing a sponsorship deal from Gina Rinehart’s prospecting company Hancock, despite the Victorian government coming to the rescue after the deal collapsed.
Rinehart canceled the lucrative Hancock Prospecting deal after Indigenous basketball player Donnell Wallam refused to have the Hancock Prospecting logo on his jersey with the endorsement of his teammates.
This was reportedly due to comments Rinehart’s late father, Lang Hancock, had made about Aboriginal Australians nearly four decades ago.
He suggested in 1984 that indigenous Australians should be sterilized in order to ‘disappear’ in the next few years.
Wallam was the national team, but had not yet made his international debut at the time.
Five months on from the saga, Netball Australia is still reeling from the furore, despite Visit Victoria coming to the rescue with a new $15m deal.
Under the new deal, players will wear Visit Victoria branding on their kits and appear in tourism campaigns to promote the state.
The deal also gives Victoria hosting rights for the 2023 Super Netball grand final, as the state becomes the official home of the Diamonds.
Netball Australia is still in debt after Gina Rinehart (pictured) pulled a massive $15m endorsement deal
Gina Rinehart (right) is pictured with her father Lang Hancock, who founded Hancock Prospecting. Her comments from a 1984 interview have angered members of the Diamonds team.
The body seems to have no regrets that Rinehart went off with a cheeky “we’re not sorry” campaign to celebrate the launch of the 2023 Super Netball season.
‘We are tired of the netball stereotypes; a sultry and safe sport played by calm and nice girls. Sorry, not sorry, and we’re not just here if you need us. We are here’, says the message.
Yet the sport remains in a massive financial hole after the Covid-19 pandemic plunged the last three seasons into chaos.
“$4.2m is the debt we have and we have to pay,” Netball Australia chief executive Kelly Ryan admitted at the season launch.
‘We still have considerable and sizeable debt that still needs to be paid. So we continue to be very fiscally responsible and make sure all growth opportunities materialize.”
Australian Diamonds star Donnell Wallam (pictured) slammed comments Gina Rinehart’s late father Lang Hancock had made about Aboriginal Australians nearly four decades ago, leading to Australia’s richest woman to withdraw their sponsorship.
Netball Australia is also grappling with ongoing negotiations for a new collective agreement, amid claims by the players’ union that it does not intend to increase Super Netball player wages next season due to the financial hole.
“There is no more money for players until 2026, which aligns with the broadcast deal,” Australian Netball Players Association chief executive Kathryn Harby-Williams said recently.
“We are not aligned with that approach and will be working with Netball Australia…we have requested financial information and we look forward to coming to the table to discuss that.”
Netball Australia featured a cheeky ‘We’re Not Sorry’ campaign at this week’s launch of the 2023 Super Netball season
In a 1984 television interview, Lang Hancock made a shocking statement about indigenous Australians.
“The ones that aren’t good for themselves and can’t accept things, the half-breeds, and this is where most of the trouble comes in,” Hancock said in the 1984 documentary It Couldn’t Be Fairer.
“I would dope the water so they would be sterile and reproduce in the future and that would solve the problem.”
Hancock died in 1992 at the age of 82 and said indigenous Australians who had been ‘assimilated’ should be left alone.
“Those who have been assimilated into, you know, making a good living or earning wages among civilized areas,” he said.
‘Those who have been accepted into society and have accepted society and can handle society, I would leave them alone.’