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Everything you need to know about the Vitality Netball Superleague 2022 season

during Vitality Super League Semi Final at Copper Box Arena, London, England on 26th June 2021.

We know that COVID-19 continues to be a part of all of our everyday lives, and as such will influence and impact how we operate the Vitality Netball Superleague for the 2022 season.

Whilst we continue to navigate the challenges of operating elite sport during these times the health and safety of players, staff and fans remains our priority.

Here we take you through the ‘rules, recommendations and protocols’ to help get the VNSL season underway whilst minimising the risk of COVID-19 impacting both central and home and away fixtures in 2022.

Game day:

15-minute quarters return for the 2022 season.

Draws are permitted until semi-final and final stage of the competition.

COVID-19 hygiene protocols:

Hygiene protocols from the previous season remain in place, so you will see match balls, posts and the courts sanitized before, during and after games as standard across the season.

Our Chief Medical Officer will attend all central event games, whilst the VNSL has assigned COVID-19 Medical Officers to all 11 clubs to help advise and monitor protocols for all regular home and away round games.

League-wide testing programme:

All players and staff will participate in an extensive testing programme to help get games played, just like last season.

This will include weekly league-wide testing on Wednesdays, and tests for players, staff and officials 24 hours before each game.

Clubs can also introduce or continue with testing before training sessions.

Squad sizes for 2022:

Whilst squad sizes for the 2022 season remain at up to 15 players (12 Players and up to 3 Training Partners), clubs have also had to register a minimum of 3 further players (titled Temporary Replacement Players), to take their total available pool of players to a minimum of 18, to ensure the best possible chance of matches being played and minimise the risk of cancelling or rescheduling fixtures due to COVID-19.

These Temporary Replacement Players are only brought in on a matchday if there are less than 10 available for the initial squad of Players and Training Partners, or if there is limited cover positionally within a squad.

A team with less than 10 players in their squad, or not enough players positionally (less than: two attackers (GS, GA) three mid court (WA, C, WD) or two defenders (GD, GK)) can trigger a postponement, so this increase in squad size should enable teams to fulfil fixtures whilst following all Government guidance on ‘close contacts’ and COVID-19 protocols.

Match Days:

Across the league, at central events and home and away matches, we will continue to operate a ‘red zone’ to segregate players, staff and fans.

Whilst Government guidance on face masks has changed since January 2022, to help mitigate the risk of COVID-19 players and staff will be asked to wear masks in changing rooms, moving round the venue and back of house, whilst on the field of play when not playing on court (team benches, warm up areas) will become optional.

VNSL staff will continue to wear face masks within indoor settings.

It is advised that spectators continue to wear face masks indoors unless they are exempt or are eating or drinking.

Postponements and Rescheduling of games:

This season the VNSL has introduced some new rules to help get games played and to avoid or minimise the possibility of fixtures being cancelled or rescheduled where possible.

In order to play a fixture a team needs a minimum of 10 players available across its squad of Players, Training Partners and Temporary Replacement Players (see above).  If they have less than 10 players available, or not enough players positionally, then a fixture can be postponed – this rule is not limited to COVID-19 cases but also applies to injury and not being available for selection.

If games are postponed during the season both teams will need to agree a reschedule date within 7 days of the original fixture (this doesn’t mean they have to play this game within 7 days, but that a future date is agreed within this time frame).

If a date can’t be agreed within 7 days, a number of league-wide ‘reserve dates’ have been earmarked for postponed games to be played.  A VNSL committee will review each case and allocate a rescheduled date for that fixture if a date can’t be reached via clubs.

All rescheduled fixtures must be complete by June 1 to enable the season to be completed by 5 June.

If a game can’t be rescheduled this then triggers a cancellation as part of the rules for this season.

What happens if games are cancelled:

This season if a game is cancelled the points will be split between those two teams.  Unless a team refuses to play, within which the other team are awarded the points.  This rule has been agreed by all 11 VNSL clubs.

As part of this new rule, the VNSL has created sub committees to review and govern this element of the league for the season.

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