New host announced for 2007 Netball World Championships

Friday, January 26, 2007

Auckland, New Zealand has been announced as the new host of the 2007 Netball World Championships, beating Christchurch. Auckland replaces Fiji as the hosts following their coup last year.

The decision was announced by the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) and the Netball New Zealand Board (NNZ). President of the IFNA, Molly Rhone, said: "IFNA would like to thank both Auckland and Christchurch for their offers and welcome Auckland as the new host of 12th World Netball Championships in New Zealand."

Garry Moore, mayor of Christchurch, said that it is disappointing for Christchurch to not have gained the hosting rights, but is still proud of the bid they made in the very short time frame they were given. "I want to congratulate Auckland and wish them all the very best in what will be a very exciting time in the City of Sails." Mr Moore has called for support for Auckland, and has said that Christchurch will still benefit financially from Auckland having the hosting rights, as well as New Zealand as a whole. He gives his luck to Auckland for a successful Championships.

The Netball World Championships, which happens every four years, will be held between 10 November and 17 November later this year, later than originally planned so the hosts and venues can be better prepared. The games will be played at Trusts Stadium, Waitakere, Auckland and the semi-finals and final may be played at Vector Arena, if it has been completed.

Bob Harvey, mayor of Waitakere, said that he expects millions of dollars to be put into the local economy because of the Championships. Mr Harvey said the council put NZ$50,000 into their bid to host the Championships and has set aside $70,000 for the hosting of the games. Mr Harvey said that he is delighted that the region has managed to secure the hosting rights, and expects Vector Arena to be completed in time to host the semi-finals and final.

Don Mackinnon, NNZ Board Chair, said: "We’re grateful to the Venues who worked with their City Councils and Netball communities in preparing these offers, and congratulate Auckland on their successful proposal."

Dick Hubbard, mayor of Auckland City, is pleased that the hosting rights were given to Auckland, the "home to 25,630 registered netball players." "Auckland City recognises the hugely important role netball plays in our community and is excited about showing our passion for the game to the world." Mr Hubbard said that the Championships will also provide a good start for Auckland in the lead up to the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Ruth Aitken, coach of New Zealand's netball team, Silver Ferns, said that it will be good for her players that the Championships are being held in Auckland. She said that playing at home is a wonderful opportunity.

Mr Mackinnon has announced that a new organisation will be formed to help with the preparation of the Championships, along with the work NNZ has already done.

Ms Rhone, said that it was major benefit for the Championships that NNZ was willing to make the dates and venues final so quickly, as it means that preparation can now get started for the venues and the 16 participating netball teams.

"Running a world class event in a compressed timeframe will be a challenge, but with the support of the Auckland community, we know that New Zealand will be able to host an excellent World Netball Championships," Mr Mackinnon said.

Mr Mackinnon said that he and NNZ are looking forward to hosting the championship, which he described as the pinnacle event of Netball.

One of the reasons that Christchurch did not gain the hosting rights this year might have been because in 1999, Christchurch hosted the event.

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