The International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) today announced a new World Ranking System for Netball that would provide a more accurate reflection of the current form of countries competing internationally.
Australia tops the new rankings table, following their continued success on the world stage, beating New Zealand into second place at the New World Netball World Championships in Auckland in November 2007. The second position of the Silver Ferns at the Championships reflects their standing in the new rankings, although the first published table takes into account international matches played since July 2004.
Jamaica, despite narrowly beating England into the bronze medal position in a thrilling encounter at the Championships, have yet to overtake them in the new rankings, following England’s success earlier in 2007, with wins against both New Zealand and Jamaica.
Previously, countries were ranked once every four years, according to their positions in the World Championships but with the number of teams taking part in this event reduced to 16 in 2007, the new ranking system is more inclusive.
Malawi was unranked under the old system, as they did not participate in the World Championships in 2003. They now take their rightful rank as 5th in the world, following exceptional performances at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne 2006, African Regional Championships and more recently at the New World Netball World Championships.
A total of 22 countries appear in the new rankings table. These teams have all played the required number of eight matches in the stipulated four year period. Another eight countries could join the rankings list with further matches played this year.
In the months ahead, as more of IFNA’s member countries play regular internationals, they too will have the opportunity to join the official rankings and monitor their performance against the rest of the world.
The new system has been created for IFNA by David Kendix, who developed and maintains the official team rankings for Test and One Day International Cricket. One of the important characteristics of the system, similar to Cricket’s, is that there is a greater weighting given to more recent matches.
IFNA President, Molly Rhone said:
“This is a major step forward for our sport. To have a ranking system that takes account of the form of teams in between our World Championships is really exciting.
“Not only will this make existing international Netball events and test matches more meaningful, we hope it will stimulate more regular competition between countries.
“It will also help us further understand the stage a country is at in its development and enable IFNA to be more strategic in supporting progress.
“One of our strategic goals is to raise the performance levels across all member countries and maximise the commercial opportunity and profile of key international events.
“Like many sports we must work hard to close the gap between the top few countries and those below them, to generate interest and excitement with new audiences in our events. This new World Ranking System gives us a much better indicator to work from.”
Liz Ellis, former Captain of Australia, commented:
“To be crowned World Champions and now to head up the first new World Rankings table is tremendous recognition and a testimony to the dedication of an incredible team that I was privileged to lead.
“The next generation of Australian players will all have something to aspire to, not just those who are lucky enough to make the World Championships.
“It won’t be easy for Australia to maintain this standing, with the Silver Ferns likely to come back even stronger after their disappointment in New Zealand. I expect all international matches will be more hotly contested than ever before with rankings at stake which will be very exciting to watch.