UK club competition the Vitality Netball Superleague has appointed experienced cricket executive Steve Elworthy as its new independent chair, with his remit to ensure it becomes, and then remains, a world-class tournament.
The Superleague Board, which is responsible for developing and delivering an ambitious business plan for the competition, is comprised of representatives from England Netball, clubs and the chair of the board.
Elworthy, who held a position on the 2019 Netball World Cup board when the tournament was held in Liverpool earlier this year, will be responsible for the delivery of a shared vision and business plan designed to help grow the profile of the league.
Elworthy said: “Having served as an independent director on the Vitality Netball World Cup Board I have been able to see how the nation has embraced the game from the Commonwealth Games to the World Cup in Liverpool and when this opportunity arose, I felt it was the perfect chance to continue my association with the game and the VNSL.
“The VNSL is one of the best leagues in the world and I aim to use all the experience I have with leagues, competitions and events to grow and improve its status to be the UK’s best women’s league. Fundamental to that will be to work with England Netball and the Superleague clubs to plot a path forward for what is already, an exceptional league.”
In June, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced that Elworthy would take up a new role as director of special projects following the conclusion of his contract as managing director of the 2019 World Cup.
As part of the new role, Elworthy is supporting ECB chief executive Tom Harrison on a range of initiatives across the organisation. These include working alongside Sanjay Patel, managing director of The Hundred, as a tournament director to help deliver the new men’s and women’s competitions, which will commence in 2020.
Former South Africa cricket international Elworthy has a wealth of experience of organising major tournaments, both for the ECB, International Cricket Council (ICC) and Cricket South Africa. Elworthy first joined the ECB in 2008 as the tournament director of the 2009 World Twenty20 and was then appointed director of marketing and communications in 2010.
In 2013 he took on a new role as the ECB’s director of global events, before being promoted to managing director of the 2019 World Cup in July 2016.
Commenting on his appointment, Claire Nelson, chief executive of Sirens Netball and a Superleague board member, said: “The VNSL Board has been set up to ensure the league has a robust strategy and effective plans in place to make it the best women’s league in the UK.
“The VNSL Board has full confidence in Steve’s ability to help us deliver that mission. He has a clear track record of working with national governing bodies across a range of different sports and his expertise in the commercial space makes him a valuable asset to this team.”
The 2020 Superleague season kicks off on February 22 at Arena Birmingham, an event which will see all 10 teams compete.