UNIVERSITY bosses have launched a rescue bid to keep the Severn Stars shining beyond the end of the campaign after the University of Gloucestershire revealed its intention to walk away.
The University of Worcester is working with England Netball to explore options to continue the netball franchise after colleagues in Gloucestershire announced the decision to end the five-year partnership.
Despite the axe falling further down the M5, Worcester bosses have reiterated their commitment to the club and to the wider netball academy and pathways in the region.
The University of Gloucestershire will maintain current levels of financial and in-kind support to give the Severn Stars the best possible chance of success in the current 2022 season.
It will then re-focus its resources to provide enhanced sport and well-being opportunities for its wider community.
Mick Donovan, head of the School of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Worcester, said: “The Severn Stars netball franchise has been a huge success in delivering top-flight netball to this region and providing new opportunities for players through extensive academies and pathways programme to which the club is very closely linked.
“We would like to thank the University of Gloucestershire for their contribution to developing the franchise with us over the last five years. Going forward, the University of Worcester remains committed to the club and the wider netball programme in the region.”
Matt Tansley, director of Sport and Physical Wellbeing at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “It has been a privilege to play our part in shaping the Severn Stars franchise and developing the netball offer regionally and we have enjoyed working in partnership with University of Worcester.
“With the partnership up for renewal at the end of this season and a new sports strategy in development, we have opted not to continue our involvement with the Stars.
“As a university, we have a responsibility to ensure that our partnerships deliver value for money for as many students as possible.
“Withdrawing from the professional Severn Stars franchise will enable funding to be invested in providing enhanced sport and wellbeing opportunities for more of our students, including our netball teams, and enable us to provide improved access to our facilities and explore options for new partnerships.
“We remain fully committed to supporting elite level players, coaches and officials in a range of sports through our successful scholarship programme.”