Trends & Features

Blair backs netball Olympic bid

Cherie Blair, wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, has joined over 600,000 people by offering her support to The Co-operative’s bid to have netball included in the Olympic Games.

The Co-operative, sponsors of the Netball Superleague, has recently carried out a survey in 2,000 food stores across the country using a simple ‘Chip and PIN’ question, which shows growing momentum for the bid. Some 587,705 people registered their support for netball to be included in the Olympics – double the level of support shown when a similar in-store survey was carried out in the summer. Alongside the 31,500 people who have joined the Facebook group ‘Bid to get netball in the 2012 Olympics’, this has taken the support for the campaign over the 600,000 mark.

Says Cherie Blair: “As patron of Refuge, national domestic violence charity for women and children, which is the charity partner of England Netball, I am delighted to be supporting netball’s bid to become an Olympic sport. Our female athletes did so well in Beijing, yet there is still an imbalance in the number of medal opportunities for men and women. Netball is the most popular sport in the world for women and including it in the Olympics would send out a strong message that there are as many chances for women as men to compete at the highest level in team sports.

“It would also raise the profile of the game and provide role models to encourage more people to take up the sport as part of a healthy lifestyle. Although I myself was pretty hopeless at netball at school, it was great fun and a really good workout, so a perfect way to help both young and old stay fit and healthy. With over 3,000 clubs across the country and one million players a week in the UK there is certainly a large pool of talent out there to find more Olympic champions.”

Netball is one of the most popular female team games in the world, but despite its popularity – and being a regular sport in the Commonwealth Games – it has never featured in the Olympic Games. To add support to the ‘Back the Bid’ campaign visit

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