World Netball has released the 2024 Rules of Netball, set to come into play from January 1.
Along with adaptations to existing rules, particularly clarifications and streamlining of contact and advantage, the 2024 edition focuses on player safety and game management.
Check out the major changes to the rules below, or scroll to the bottom of the page to access the full rule book.
The 2024 Rules Update sees a change to the stoppages rule.
The new rule means teams can just request a ‘tactical change’ immediately after a goal has been scored. This is in addition to the ability to make changes at an interval or at a stoppage for injury, illness or blood.
There are two types of tactical changes; team change (when an on-court player changes playing positions with another on-court player) and substitution (when a player moves from the team bench to replace a player on the court).
Goal After Whistle
In the past, the ball had to pass completely through the ring before the whistle to be counted as a goal.
Now, if the whistle to end play (or to hold time) is blown after the ball has left the hands of the shooter and the shot is successful, the goal will be scored.
Centre Pass Checks
If a team believes the centre pass is being signaled incorrectly, the updated rule allows an on-court player to appeal to the umpires before the centre pass is taken.
The umpires will then check with the scorers who will confirm the correct centre pass.
It is important to note that the appeal can only come from an on-court player, not the bench or coach.
The appeal must be made before the centre pass is taken. Once it’s taken, any mistakes cannot be rectified.
Toss Up Removal
A toss up was previously used if an infringement occurred simultaneously. However, due to improved umpire education and training, the use of toss ups has become much less frequent and umpires are instead, correctly, penalising the infringement that occurred first.
If a simultaneous infringement occurs the umpire awards possession to the team that last had possession of the ball, where the ball was when play stopped.
Any player from that team may take the ball for the restart of play. It does not have to be the player who had the ball last. If it is in the team’s goal circle, the goal shooter or goal attack may shoot for goal.
This is different from a situation where possession is called as a clarification (when two players gain possession of the ball in quick succession).
It is a fundamental principle of netball that every pass should be capable of being legally contested.
The updated rule states that when a player passes the ball there must be sufficient space on the court for an opposing player to be able to deflect or intercept the ball as it moves from the hands of the passer to those of the receiver.
The difference between the old rule “intercept by a hand” and the updated rule “deflect or intercept” is that the umpire must consider whether the defending player can make a genuine attempt.
World Netball has made changes and clarifications to rules regarding player safety, to ensure injury incidents – particularly head and neck injuries and suspected concussions – are taken seriously by players, coaches and umpires.
The new rule clarifies that as well as umpires holding time for injury or illness following a verifiable request by an on-court player, they may also hold time without a request being made if there is an obvious or serious injury which would include an injury to the head or neck and/or suspected concussion.
The player safety adjustments also include an amendment to the blood rule, stating that players with dried blood on them are no longer required to be substituted, and are now permitted to clean up quickly and continue playing.
However, players who are bleeding, have an open wound or bloodstained clothing still must leave the court (and be substituted).
Foul play and resulting penalties have been split into three categories which attract increasingly serious game management action.
The three new categories are unfair play, unsporting behaviour and dangerous play. Each category results in a varied form of a penalty pass, as well as the ability to advance, warn, suspend or order off depending on the seriousness of the action.
This puts increased responsibility on players to use good judgment in making decisions on court and understanding that they will be held accountable for actions that might result in the injury of an opponent.
Cautions have been removed and umpires can now advance or escalate a sanction. Adapted game management actions include proactive advice, an advancement down the court or escalation from a free pass to a penalty, an official warning, two-minute suspension and ordering off.
As in the past, warnings, suspensions and ordering off are all immediately binding on the co-umpire. As an example: if one umpire gives a player a warning and that player continues to infringe at the other umpire’s end of the court, they would then suspend that player.
The wording around the advantage rule has been adapted, and includes greater principles for application to allow umpires to ably apply and execute successfully.
This will help ensure a team will not be disadvantaged when an opponent infringes, and allow the match to continue smoothly, without interruptions.
The updated contact rule clarifies the difference between the two types of contact penalty – interference and causing (both as a moving player and player in the air) – to ensure greater understanding and application in the moment.
The update also makes clear the necessity of “right of way” and landing space. When two players jump in the air to contest, the player who gains possession has “right of way” and must be given space to land, relative to where the ball was travelling. A player who does not yield the space will be penalised, and no other player may move into the landing space.
Playing the Ball
Replayed ball is another rule that has been “refreshed”, to greater clarify both how one may gain possession of the ball, and what one can do while in possession.
To gain possession, a player may:
Without possession, a play may:
With the new update, players no longer have to wait for all players to be on court before taking the throw-in.
View the Rules of Netball 2024 Edition here.
View the World Netball educational resources here.
Keep an eye out for webinars and workshops in 2024 to help you understand these rule changes.