Netball rules change Jan 1

Malawi net-ballers have two days from today to study and apply new rules coming into force on January 1 2012 or risk the wrath of the International Federation of Netball Associations (Ifna).

Ifna passed the new rules, mainly concerning Rule 7 sub-section 3.4.2, on August 23 2010 in Singapore on the sidelines of the World Championship. There are over 10 changes, including allowing coaching during stoppages.

NAM president Rosy Chinunda attended the Singapore meeting, but she was, as of Tuesday, not aware of the Ifna communication, saying she needed to check mail once she returns to office.

“The following rules change were formally agreed at the Ifna Congress 2011. They will come into force on January 1 2012. Please amend your rules books accordingly,” Ifna wrote recently to all its affiliates, including NAM.

The new rules passed “following a formal ballot of the Ifna full members are designed to make the game more competitive. The changes now allow team officials and players to coach while play is in progress provided that they remain seated or stand at their team bench.”

Coaching at the sideline is also allowed during intervals and during stoppages. The current rule does not allow coaching during stoppages.

A one-minute interval has also been introduced to half-time break for extra time of seven minutes each where a winner is required. Current rule says teams must change ends without break before the second-half of extra time. Interval substitutions, which were barred, are now allowed.

Primary care personnel can now treat injured players on the court whereas the current rules gives 30 seconds for injured players to be taken off the court for treatment on the court-side.

Chinunda on Tuesday confirmed attending the Ifna meeting, but had not seen the changes. Malawi netball Queens coach Edith Kaliati was also on Tuesday in the dark on the changes.

“I am a guardian for a patient in hospital, but I hope the changes are for the better. Reducing break time from three to two minutes is a right decision. The break was long,” she said.

There is a possibility of Malawi regional leagues being played using old rules after January 1 2011; hence, risking Ifna unspecified wrath. National team coaches and players may also need time to learn the new rules before international games.

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