By Cathy Walshe
Next year's trans-Tasman netball league will operate under an increased salary cap and with bigger squads under a new collective agreement signed off.
For the first time since the league began in 2008, the salary cap has increased to $380,000 for all five New Zealand franchise teams. There will be stricter control and monitoring of the cap, including a contract approval process.
Teams will also be able contract up to 14 players, two more than the previous maximum, and an increase to the minimum retainer where a team contracts 12 players has also been approved.
Negotiation of the new agreement has meant the five New Zealand franchises have not been able to finalise their rosters for next season.
New Zealand Netball Players' Association (NZNPA) boss Tim Lythe says the end result is worth the wait.
"It takes some time to iron out the details and get the parties around the table," he told NZ Newswire.
"We've been trying to push along as quickly as we can, but you've got to go through due process as well. It's a really good agreement and it took some robust discussion, but it's a good result for both parties."
The new agreement, between the franchises, Netball NZ, NZNPA and the Trans-Tasman Netball League, is for one year but Lythe said it was expected to roll over for the 2014 season.
"It's probably not a straight increase, but things such as non-financial benefits are now included inside the cap," he said.
"There are things that can still be done outside the cap, including third party and other arrangements. It's a soft cap in that sense, but it's definitely become harder and a little bit more regulated."
ANZ Championship general manager Andy Crook says the agreement means the league will continue to develop.
"It supports the objectives of the players, teams and the league itself, ensuring the growth of the ANZ Championship continues on an upward curve."