A statement from the Severn Stars Netball Franchise:

The University of Worcester is working with England Netball to explore options to continue the Severn Stars netball franchise beyond this season as the University of Gloucestershire has decided not to renew the partnership after 2022.

The franchise was launched as a five-year partnership between University of Gloucestershire and the University of Worcester in 2017.

The University of Worcester remains committed to the future of the Club and to the wider netball academy and pathways in the region. Worcester has committed to work very actively and positively with England Netball to explore options to continue the franchise beyond this season whilst further strengthening the academy and pathways programme which is so important to so many women and girls in the region.

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. University of Gloucestershire will then re-focus its resources to provide enhanced sport and wellbeing 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 topflight 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 are sorry that the University of Gloucestershire has decided to withdraw from the Club at the end of this season. We would like to thank them for their contribution to developing the franchise with us over the last five years. We have greatly enjoyed working with Gloucestershire colleagues. Going forward, the University of Worcester remains very committed to the Club and the wider netball programme in the region. We are in discussions with England Netball about how to continue the franchise in the future.”

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. We look forward to working with them to achieve their ambitions.”