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Rule Modifications

England Netball introduced the rule modifications in order to get netball back on! Given the nature of the game, and due to the high number of instances during a traditional game, where players come face to face for more than 3 seconds, the only route back to netball to keep everyone as safe as possible was to introduce the rule modifications.

You can find more detailed information about why the rule modifications were put into place, and how they were created, on the England Netball website.

What are the rule modifications?

  • 4ft Spacing at the start of play – GS and GK are required to start inside their respective goal circles, GA, GD, WA and WD on the transverse line and the Centres in the centre third. The modification requires all players to position themselves a minimum of 4ft away from their opposing players and teammates at the start of play.
  • 4ft Marking – the defending distance has been increased from 3ft to 4ft. Particular attention must be paid in the goal circle when defending or waiting for a rebound under the goal post. This will be blown as distance.
  • 4ft Position of penalised player – penalised players for major infringements (contact/ obstruction) are required to position beside the player they infringed but from a distance of 4ft away. This will be managed by umpires when an infringement occurs.
  • Removal of Toss Ups – No toss ups are permitted, the team who had the ball directly before the action that caused the toss up to be awarded will retain possession. The umpire will briefly hold time, instruct the ball to be returned to the relevant team, and play will be restarted on the umpire’s whistle.
  • Removal of Idle Interactions – Players not engaged in play or who are stood still are required to be positioned 4ft away from another player. This frequently happens on the circle edge, on the transverse line, whilst walking back to centre pass and returning to the team bench at the end of a quarter. Managed by umpires and supported by players.

Is it still netball?
In a word, yes! Despite the changes, the modified game still looks and feels very much like the version we know and love. Contesting for the ball is very much permitted providing players are involved in the phase of play. Please keep an eye out on our social media channels for videos, hints and tips on playing to these new rules. Do let us know if you have further questions about any of the rule modifications, and where appropriate we will add some clarification to our Covid FAQ’s.

You will be reminded of rule modifications at the start of each game. Circle players must take particular care of adhering to the modifications in the circle, and will be continually prompted to do so. All Playnetball.com umpires and site managers have undergone training on these modifications and will provide constant reminders from the side lines before, during and after your games.