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Jack Charlton, 1966 World Cup winner, Leeds United legend and football great, dies aged 85


Jack Charlton, an uncompromising central defender who played alongside his brother, Bobby, in England’s World Cup-winning side in 1966 before enjoying coaching success with Ireland, has died aged 85.

Nicknamed “Big Jack” and celebrated for his earthy “beer and cigarettes” image, Charlton was Footballer of the Year in England in 1967.

He spent all his club career at Leeds, from 1952-73, tying the club’s all-time record of 773 appearances. He won every domestic honour, including the league title in 1969.

Charlton’s family said he died at home on Friday (local time) in Northumberland.

“As well as a friend to many, he was a much-adored husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather,” the family said in a statement.

“We cannot express how proud we are of the extraordinary life he led and the pleasure he brought to so many people in different countries and from all walks of life.

“He was a thoroughly honest, kind, funny and genuine man who always had time for people. His loss will leave a huge hole in all our lives but we are thankful for a lifetime of happy memories.”

His biggest achievement came with the England national team that beat Germany 4-2 after extra time in the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

A black and white photo of Jack Charlton holding a trophy above his head at a packed Wembley
Jack Charlton after winning the 1966 World Cup with England.(AP)

Bobby, his younger brother, played in midfield. Jack celebrated the victory by partying in a random person’s house in north London, ending up sleeping on the floor.

That was typical of the man who kept the common touch despite his fame and remained an affable character, fond of life’s simple pleasures.

“I got a lift back the following morning and my mother was playing hell as I hadn’t been to bed all night,” Charlton recalled.

“I said, ‘Mother, we’ve just won the World Cup!'”

Charlton made 35 appearances for England between 1965-70, also playing in the 1968 European Championship and the 1970 World Cup. A very different player to Bobby, who was once all-time top scorer for both England and Manchester United, Jack was in the shadow of his brother during his playing career.

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It was obvious from an early age that Bobby “was going to play for England and would be a great player”, Jack recalled in a 1997 BBC interview.

“He was strong, left- and right-footed, good balance, good skills. He had everything, our kid. I was over six foot. Leggy. A giraffe, as I finished up being called.”

Big Jack becomes the boss

Of all the England World Cup winners to go into management, Jack Charlton was easily the most successful.

He had brief but impressive spells at north-east clubs Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle before being hired by Ireland in 1986 as its first foreign coach.

Adopting a direct, physical and attack-minded style, Charlton got the best out of Ireland’s hard-working players and guided them to three major tournaments, including the 1990 World Cup where the Irish reached the quarterfinals. Ireland also played at Euro 1988 and the 1994 World Cup under Charlton.

A black and white photo of Jack Charlton, who is wearing a nice suit, smiling while holding a trophy
In 1967, Jack Charlton was named Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association.(AP)

“You get the ball forward, you compete, you close people down, you create excitement, you win balls when you shouldn’t win balls, commit yourself to the game,” Charlton said of Ireland’s style.

“A lot of the pundits didn’t like it but the teams we played against hated it. They’d never experienced anything like what we were dictating to them … We were a match for anybody in the world.”

Charlton said his best memory as Ireland coach was beating Brazil 1-0 in a friendly at Lansdowne Road in 1987. He resigned in 1995 after losing in a Euro 1996 playoff to the Netherlands.

He was awarded honorary Irish citizenship a year later. A life-size statue of him was erected at Cork Airport, depicting him wearing fishing gear and holding a salmon — recalling Charlton’s favourite pastime of fishing.

An old photo of Bobby Charlton, in his Manchester United kit, and Jack Charlton, in his Leeds kit, running after the ball
Jack (left) spent much of his career playing second fiddle to his brother Bobby (right).(AP)

“I am as much Irish as I am English,” Charlton, who was given the freedom of Dublin, said.

Born May 8, 1935, in a gritty area of northern England, Charlton worked down the mines as a teenager before going for a trial at Leeds. He grew up in a footballing family, cousin to Newcastle great Jackie Milburn while his uncles Jack, George, Jimmy and Stan all played professionally.

“It left me no choice but to be a footballer,” Charlton said.

AP



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Noah Lyles thought he’d smashed Usain Bolt’s world record — then found out he hadn’t run far enough


An ambitious attempt to hold a high-tech athletics meeting with runners in different stadiums ran into problems when world champion Noah Lyles ran too short a distance in the 200 metres event.

Lyles, running in Florida, completed the race at the Inspiration Games in an eye-watering 18.90 seconds, which would have smashed Usain Bolt’s world record of 19.19 seconds and his own personal best time of 19.50.

But, after initial confusion, his official result read “shorter distance” and it appeared that the American had started from the wrong line. Swiss television said he had only run 185 metres.

The race was won by Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre, running in Zurich, in 19.80 seconds, one hundredth of a second ahead of Dutchman Churandy Martina, who was running in the Netherlands.

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The meeting was the Zurich Weltklasse event’s attempt to restart competition as coronavirus continues to prevent conventional events from taking place.

It prided itself on the use of high technology that allowed athletes, who were separated by thousands of kilometres, to compete against each other.

“Special times require special approaches and that’s what we invented,” Andreas Hediger, the co-director of the Inspiration Games, said.

“We go to the athletes if the athletes cannot come to Zurich.”

A sprinter holds both hands above his head and looks tired after running
Confusion reigned after Noah Lyles’s run, but his error was soon made clear.(YouTube: Wanda Diamond League)

The starting guns were synchronised and the three runners in each track event shown on a split screen, although slightly different camera angles in the respective venues made it difficult to tell the leader until the finish line came into view.

In the top race, multiple Olympic and world championship medallist Allyson Felix overcame 400 metres Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo and world bronze medallist Mujinga Kambundji over 150 metres.

Felix was racing in California, Miller-Uibo in Florida and Kambundji in Zurich.

“It was very strange, it felt like practice, but not even with the team-mates,” Felix said.

Thirty athletes took part in the event which was held in seven stadiums across Europe and North America.

Reuters



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Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin, dead at 32, led a life from the foot of Mt Buller to the top of the world


Alex Pullin, known almost always as Chumpy, was Australia’s first-ever snowboard world champion, a three-time Olympian and, at his peak, one of the very best snowboard cross athletes in the world.

Through a 13-year professional career, Pullin rose to the top of his sport and became one of Australia’s most recognisable winter athletes, culminating in his selection as the country’s flag bearer at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

He died on Wednesday, aged 32, in a spearfishing accident off Palm Beach on the Gold Coast.

Surrounded by snow from birth, Pullin was born in Mansfield, Victoria, at the foot of Mt Buller. He took to snowboarding young, sparking a love affair that would last the length of his life.

An Australian male snowboarder holds the Australian flag ahead of the opening ceremony for the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
Alex Pullin was Australia’s first snowboard world champion and one of its best-ever winter athletes.(AAP: Paul Miller)

Not long after discovering snowboarding, a young Chumpy discovered snowboard cross, which he said he felt was “the most pure form of competition”.

“I was so attracted to competing from a young age,” Pullin said on his website.

“My dad and I used to race to everything. The nearest tree or racing home on our bikes. It became second nature to test myself that way.

“When I started snowboarding, there were many different disciplines I competed in, but Boardercross always felt like it tested all of my snowboard skills.”

By early 2007, at just 19 years old, Pullin competed in his first World Cup event in Furano, Japan. He finished third in his heat, missing out on qualification, but it was just the beginning.

Japan would be the site of Pullin’s breakthrough one year later, when he claimed his first World Cup medal with a third-place finish in Gujo-Gifu.

Just two years out from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the bronze medal put Chumpy on the map in Australia, and proved he was capable of competing with the world’s best.

Pullin took that confidence to Vancouver, where he made his Olympic debut in the snowboard cross.

Alex Pullin screams in delight while holding an Australian flag over his head.
Alex Pullin won his first World Championship in 2011.(Reuters: Susana Vera)

Impressively, Pullin was the fastest qualifier of the 35-man field, earning him top billing for the head-to-heat heads. But the luck snowboard cross requires was not on his side as he crashed out in the quarter-finals, finishing 17th overall.

That Olympics appearance helped properly launch Pullin’s career though, and only weeks later he won gold at a World Cup event for the very first time.

Victory in Valmalenco, Italy was followed by silver medals in La Molina and Lech am Arlberg and a bronze in Telluride to ensure that by the end of 2010, Pullin was a regular and serious threat.

But at the World Champions in 2011, again in La Molina, Chumpy put that beyond doubt. His victory in the final officially made him Australia’s first-ever snowboarding world champion, and capped his rapid rise to the top of the sport.

In 2011 he also won the Overall Crystal Globe, crowning the best boarder across all World Cup events through the season.

But Pullin’s best season was likely 2013, as he became the first Australian to ever successfully defend a world championship crown with victory in Stoneham, and claim a second Overall World Crown.

At the peak of his powers and more confident than ever, and with the 2014 Sochi Olympics rapidly approaching, Chumpy was officially named as Australia’s flag bearer and the face of the team.

An Australian male snowboarder kisses his gold medal at the 2013 snowboard world championships.
Chumpy went back to back at the 2013 World Championships.(Reuters: Mathieu Belanger)

“It’s such a special experience to walk out as an athlete in that opening ceremony. It’s just very emotional, it’s uplifting,” he said at the time.

“You just want to throw your hands in the air and celebrate with your friends and also you feel that there’s something ahead of you and it’s just a moment around the corner.”

But with the eyes of the country on him, Pullin fell afoul of the fickle nature of his sport and was wiped out in the quarter-finals after winning his opening heat. He finished 13th overall.

If the disappointing Sochi result was a blow to Chumpy, his follow-up performances didn’t show it.

He was a podium regular through 2015 and 2016, and began to recapture his best form again in 2017 with back-to-back gold medals in Argentina in September, before claiming bronze at the World Championships in Spain.

Alex Pullin celebrates after his run in the snowboard cross semifinals
Pullin crashed out of the final in the 2018 Winter Olympics.(AP: Gregory Bull)

It meant Pullin would go to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang as the world number one, but again luck was not to be on his side.

After easing through to the final, Chumpy crashed out early and could only claim a sixth-place finish.

The years post-PyeongChang were less prosperous for Pullin in a snowboarding sense, but competing was only ever one part of Pullin’s life.

Pullin was an avid surfer, a talented musician, a motivational speaker and, heartbreakingly, an experienced freediver and spearfisher.

Snow Australia described Pullin as a “beloved member” of its community. Australian Olympic Team Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman said he was a “was a champion bloke as well as being a champion athlete”, and a “natural leader”.

Well-liked and respected across the board, his death is a shock and blow for winter athletes and sport fans across the country.



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FFA wants to transform football in Australia as Women’s World Cup approaches


In 1973, Collingwood VFL full-forward and heart-throb Peter McKenna published his glossy biography-cum-coffee-table book, My World of Football.

In the book, the boy from West Heidelberg in Melbourne talked about how he played football — or soccer, as it was more widely known in Australia back then — until he was 13 and how his first love had the potential to explode in this country.

It has been ever thus.

For 50 years or more, the Australian football community has to a greater or lesser degree presumed it was a matter of time before the world game would somehow magically assume its rightful place at the top of the sporting tree.

But that view always missed the deep love Australians have for the dominant and largely homegrown football codes, Australian rules and rugby league.

While football is without question the most popular grassroots game in Australia, its enormous junior player numbers have never translated to an overwhelming fan base or the mega TV deals attracted by the AFL, NRL and cricket.

Instead, and despite many people’s best intentions, the game has been plagued for decades by infighting, selfishness, political games, parochialism and arrogance, which has held it back.

The Matildas huddle in celebration in front of a roaring crowd
The 2023 Women’s World Cup is set to give football in Australia a massive boost.(Reuters: Jean-Paul Pelissier)

Football Federation Australia (FFA) chief executive James Johnson knows it.

He has worked at FIFA, knows the world of football politics and has come back to Australian football with fresh eyes and the perspective of someone who has not been immersed in the local game.

Now FFA has released a discussion paper, which takes a critical root-and-branch look at all aspects of football in Australia and which Johnson says “seeks to address some of the major challenges it faces today”.

It is a largely positive document, one which highlights the strengths of Australian football.

But the very fact FFA felt the need to undergo a critical examination of the game, points to fundamental problems within.

“Australian football has taken a massive hit because of COVID-19 and there is no doubt the game will feel the effects for years to come.

“So, anyone that’s not talking about change in the sport industry, [or] in the football industry, I think is just going to be left behind, to be frank.”

FFA focused on all levels of football

Johnson is buoyed by the recent decision to award Australia and New Zealand the 2023 Women’s World Cup, as well as FFA’s new TV deal with Foxtel, albeit one that includes drastically reduced terms.

The discussion paper is built around 11 principles, which Johnson said were “the next step in not just the rebuild, but the transformation of Australian football”.

The principles include:

  • Building a strong and consistent identity for Australian football
  • Developing a narrative for football, which distinguishes it from the other football codes
  • Establishing a domestic transfer system
  • Increasing opportunities for young players in terms of development and minutes on the field
  • Improving coaching
  • Improving governance
  • Reducing costs for players
  • Continuing the growth of the game for women and girls
  • Creating a better operating model for the professional leagues
  • Positioning the national teams, the Matildas and Socceroos as unifying symbols of the game

Never has football in Australia produced such a sweeping vision that addresses all aspects of the game, even covering how it is played.

The discussion paper calls for the identification of “characteristics of a style of play, which are authentic and resonate with Australian society”.

A Central Coast Mariners A-League player and his Perth Glory opponent make contact as they compete for the ball.
Improving engagement with the A-League is a key priority for FFA.(AAP: Gary Day)

FFA wants Australia to become more aggressive financially by setting up a proper transfer system.

For example, in 2019, Australia received $US1.9 million in transfer fees compared to the world’s number one nation, Belgium, which tallied almost $US300 million.

Johnson backs change

Johnson knows the paper will be met with opposition by state federations eager to maintain their power bases, but he is taking them head-on by stating that “football must consider what the purpose of the various administrative bodies in Australian football are”.

The paper notes “COVID-19 has exposed the underlying fragilities of the current governance framework of football in Australia”.

It points out the duplication and confusion of many layers of management across the FFA’s and states’ 10 different legal entities, 10 chairpersons, 10 chief executives and around 70 directors.

This has led to parochialism and inequities such as the bottom-up funding model of football, which means players end up paying $164 million in registration fees to keep the game afloat.

It is a massive bugbear for anyone who has had to fork out as much as $500 per season for themselves or their children to play the game.

There will be fights — football in Australia has too many vested interests for there not to be — but Johnson seems up for the challenge.

“Change for us is good,” he said.

James Johnson talks at a press conference
FFA chief executive James Johnson is aware of the challenges facing his organisation.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

If the buzzwords are “listening”, “challenges” and “change”, the paper is also very much an existential document that signals football in Australia needs to find its own identity and not compare itself to the other codes.

“We’ve just got to recognise what’s great about the sport and what’s great about the Australian game,” Johnson said.

“Sure, if we benchmark our professional league versus the AFL, the AFL on all the metrics is a bigger sport sure, but I think we’re bigger than a league.

“I think our big opportunity is our grassroots. Not only do we have high numbers, but we just have such a diverse group of people that play football — men, women, people of different colour, people of different ethnicity.

Releasing a document that questions every aspect of Australian football is a bold step.

But 50 years of expecting football to naturally rise to the top has proven to be a false dream.

Now, the hope is football can find its own level.



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PM Scott Morrison’s warning on post-COVID world


Prime Minister Scott Morrison will warn Australians to prepare for a more “dangerous and disorderly” post-COVID world as he announces a $270 billion cash splash today on long-range maritime missiles and land strike capabilities as tensions with China intensify.

The Prime Minister will issue a blunt warning that tensions are rising across the region, citing recent border clashes between India and China and tensions in the South China Sea.

“The risk of miscalculation – and even conflict – is heightening,’’ the Prime Minister warns.

“The simple truth is this. Even as we stare down the COVID pandemic at home, we need to also prepare for a post-COVID world that is poorer, more dangerous and more disorderly.”

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Despite COVID-19 blowing a massive hole in the federal budget, the Prime Minister will reaffirm he will offer a 10-year funding model that goes beyond the current pledge to reach two per cent of GDP this year.

The program includes major upgrades to the Tindal RAAF base in the Northern Territory, that the PM has previously described as “the sharp end of the spear” for Australian & US air operations in the Indo-Pacific.

The Prime Minister will warn the Indo-Pacific region is the epicentre of rising strategic competition, signalling a shift in Australia’s defence focus.

“Our region will not only shape our future – increasingly it is the focus of the dominant global contest of our age,’’ Mr Morrison says.

“Tensions over territorial claims are rising across the Indo-Pacific region – as we have seen recently on the disputed border between India and China, in the South China Sea, and in the East China Sea.

While the 2016 Defence White Paper previously saw an equal weighting across three areas: Australia and its northern approaches; Southeast Asia and the Pacific; and operations in support of the rules-based global order, the new blueprint will call on the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to prioritise its geographical focus on the immediate region – from the northeast Indian Ocean, through maritime and mainland Southeast Asia to Papua New Guinea and the South West Pacific.

ANU Professor Paul Dibbs has previously flagged the $1.1 billion upgrade to the RAAF base at Tindal as pivotal, because it will lengthen the runway so that US B-52 strategic bombers as well as our own KC-30 air-to-air refuelling aircraft can operate from there.

“The second development is the announcement by the US State Department that Australia has been cleared, at a cost of about $1.4 billion, to purchase 200 AGM-158C long-range anti-ship missiles (LRASM), which can be fired from our F/A-18 Super Hornets and the F-35s when they are delivered,’’ Professor Dibb wrote.

“The significance of these two developments occurring at the same time should not be underestimated and certainly not in Beijing. Morrison described the upgrades to Tindal as being ‘the sharp end of the spear’ for Australian and US air operations in the Indo-Pacific.

As the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Peter Jennings observed, the decision to expand the Tindal air base is a giant strategic step forward and could be the basis for a greater leadership role for Australia in the region.

“When the upgrade, including major runway extensions, fuel stockpiles and engineering support, is completed, Tindal will be the most potent military base south of Guam. And — for the time being at least — it is beyond the reach of Chinese conventional ballistic missiles.”

The new defence blueprint will also increase the Australian Defence Force’s ability to influence and deny operations in the ‘grey-zone’ of intelligence and offensive cyber capabilities.

“Disinformation and foreign interference have been enabled by new and emerging technologies,’’ the Prime Minister will say.

“Relations between China and the United States are fractious as they compete for political, economic and technological supremacy.”

However, the Prime Minister will warn it is important to acknowledge that China and the US are not the only actors of consequence.

“Japan, India, the Republic of Korea, the countries of Southeast Asia, and the Pacific all have agency – choices to make and parts to play,’’ he says.

“We must be alert to the full range of current and future threats, including ones in which Australia’s security and sovereignty may be tested.

“We know what we’re about and what we stand for.

“We’re about having the freedom to live our lives as we choose — in an open and democratic society, without coercion or fear.

“We won’t surrender this – ever.”

DEFENCE SPENDING

o Information and cyber ($15 billion) – Bolster offensive and defensive cyber capabilities, enhance electronic warfare and command and control systems and improve intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems. Between $1.9 to $3 billion in offence defensive and offensive cyber operations and to counter cyber-attacks on Australia, Defence and deployed forces. Between $3.3 to $5 billion for strengthen Defence’s network resilience from malicious actors. Between $2 to $3 billion in signals intelligence systems and expanding and upgrading systems for delivering top secret information and communications to strengthen Defence’s warfighting capability

o Maritime ($75 billion) – Expanded maritime force to provide greater capability for anti-submarine warfare, sealift, border security, maritime patrol, aerial warfare, area denial and undersea warfare. Between $168 to $183 billion for the acquisition or upgrade of navy and Army maritime vessels out to the 2050s. Between $5 to $7 billion in undersea surveillance systems. Between $400 to $500 million in long range Maritime Strike missiles.

o Air ($65 billion) – Expanded air combat and mobility and new long range weapons and remotely piloted and autonomous systems will be introduced. Between $10 to $17 billion investment in fighter aircraft. Between $700 million to $1 billion for Operational Radar Network expansion. Between $3.4 billion to $5.2 billion to improve air launched strike capability. Between $6.2 to $9.3 billion in research and development in high speed long range strike, including hypersonic research to inform future investments Between $7.4 to $11 billion for remotely-piloted and autonomous combat aircraft, including air teaming vehicles.

o Space ($7 billion) – Investment to improve resilience and self-reliance of Defence’s space capabilities, including to assure access to capabilities, enable situational awareness and deliver real-time communications and position, navigation and timing. Between $4.6 to $6.9 billion in upgrades and future satellite communications systems, including communications satellites and ground control stations under sovereign Australian control. Between $1.3 to $2 billion to build our Space Situational Awareness capabilities.

o Land ($55 billion) – Investment to ensure land forces have more combat power, are better connected, protected and integrated with each other and with our partners. Between $7.4 to $11.1 billion on future autonomous vehicles. Between $7.7 to $11.5 billion for long range rocket fires and artillery systems including two regiments of self-propelled howitzers. Between $1.4 to $2.1 billion for Army watercraft including up to 12 riverine patrol craft and several amphibious vessels of up to 2,000 tonnes to enhance ADF amphibious lift capacity.

o Defence Enterprise ($50 billion) – Investment key infrastructure, ICT, innovation and science and Technology programs critical to the generation of Defence capabilities. Between $6.8 to $10.2 billion in undersea warfare facilities and infrastructure. Between $4.3 to $6.5 billion to enhance Air Force’s operational effectiveness and capacity in the Northern Territory. Between $900 million to $1.3 billion to upgrade key ports and infrastructure to support Australia’s larger fleet of amphibious vessels. Between $20.3 to $30 billion to increase the supply of munitions and between $1 to $1.5 billion to explore expanding industry capacity for domestic guided weapons and explosive ordnance production capability.



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Australia bidding to host 2027 Netball World Cup in Sydney


Australia is bidding to host the Netball World Cup for a fourth time, with Sydney proposed to be the home of the 2027 tournament.

Only days after Australia and New Zealand were named hosts of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Netball Australia (NA) announced its bid to secure another global sporting championship.

And it is confident about its chances.

“2027 will be Netball Australia’s 100th anniversary, so it would be an honour to host the global netball community in Sydney to help us celebrate this significant milestone — to recognise how far netball in Australia and around the world has come,” NA chief executive Marne Fechner said in a statement.

“Last week we celebrated the fantastic news Australia and New Zealand will host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023.

“Let’s hope we continue that winning way with our compelling bid and bring the world’s best netballers back to Sydney, Australia in 2027.”

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Australia has previously hosted the tournament on three occasions.

It was held in Sydney in 1991 and 2015 — with Australia winning both events — and Perth was host in 1967 when New Zealand was crowned world champions.

“Having last hosted the Netball World Cup in Sydney in 2015, we’ve experienced first-hand the incredibly far-reaching impact that an event of this calibre can have on a nation,” Fechner said.

“Our vision for 2027 is to deliver the most successful women’s world cup of the modern era; one that powers a lasting global legacy for netball and women, showcases the game’s best athletes, and welcomes the international netball family to Sydney yet again.”

Two women tussle over a netball
Australia was beaten by New Zealand in the 2019 Netball World Cup final in Liverpool.(AP: Nigel French)

The International Netball Federation is set to announce the winning host nation by the end of the year.

Australia is an 11-time Netball World Cup winner, with New Zealand having lifted the silverware on five occasions.

Cape Town is the host city for the 2023 tournament, where New Zealand will look to defend the world championship it claimed in Liverpool, England, last year.



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Cedric Dols, wearing a face mask to protect against the spread of coronavirus, brings his newborn daughter Anouk to her mother Marie L’Hoest to be breastfeed at the MontLegia CHC hospital in Liege, Belgium, Friday, June 26, 2020. Belgium has lifted most of its restrictions but still requires face masks on public transport and asks people to still keep a physical distance from each other, to prevent the spread of coronavirus, COVID-19. Credit:AP



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