The World Netball organisation released a new set of updated rules for the games of netball to take place worldwide for fair and competitive play on Thursday, 4 January 2024.
As per the reports, the primary rule changed in the game is considered the change in the rule of short passes.
It is the fundamental principle of netball that every pass should be capable of being legally contested. The rules related to the short pass saw some faults in it, which was making an impact on the results of the match.
The previous wording of the rule was interpreted in a way that led to the use of passes so short that defenders had no opportunity even to attempt to gain possession. It was making it impossible for the players to control the ball, which eventually led to a loss of points.
Now, as per the new rules, it is the responsibility of the umpire on the field to make the decision.
The umpire must consider whether the defending player makes a genuine attempt to take control of the ball and deflect or intercept it, considering not just a hand but the hand connected to the arm and body of the player.
When a player passes the ball to the other side, there should be sufficient space on the court for the players of the opposite side to take possession of the ball. It is mentioned in the guidelines by World Netball for the new rule of the short pass, which is rule 12.1.
There is a sanction if the ball is caught or touched by the player on the receiving side of the same team; with the free pass.
Rule 12.2 of the short pass mentioned that, in a condition where more than one player from the same team gains possession of the ball in quick succession, the possession will remain with the player who gained possession of the ball first.
The player whose hand gained possession of the balls in the second place will be removed. If the player who gained possession of the ball in second place but finished in possession of the ball, then the pass will be deemed to be a short pass.
There will be a sanction where the player who gained possession second has sole possession of the ball; with the free pass.
The World Netball released the complete guide of the rules on their website, which is updated with the new rules and carries forward the previous rules that are kept as it is.
Players and coaches are taking notes of the new rules, and the fans of the sport are also taking an interest in the updates of the rules.
The discussion on the new rules of the games is going on, and people are sharing their opinions on the changes.
An individual about the new rules is saying, “Why not specify, for example, a minimum distance of 3 feet or 1m? Sufficient space is highly subjective; players come in all shapes and sizes, so which will be used as the standard for sufficient space.”
In response, another individual said, “How would an umpire viably judge that for every pass at such speed? I think your suggestion has merit, but I do not think it is viable from an umpiring perspective.”
Some people about the change said, “The rule isn’t smart enough. Many factors can affect it. I would prefer a standard distance. Umpires are to face it rough.”
The new rules are updated by World Netball, which takes care of the ranking and world-level competitions of Netball. The organisation was founded in 1960 and was previously known as the International Netball Federation.