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Netball Sweden receives INF statement on the founding of netball

Updated: Aug 7, 2020

Swedish born Martina Bergman Österberg confirmed as netball founder.


Initiated by a comment in the Stockholm Netball Club committee meeting February 2019 a process to confirm the founding history of netball was initiated. Martina Bergman Österberg was the name, Swedish born, speculated as the founder of netball. Though information could be found online as to her contributions to the development of netball the founding nature was diluted in a sea of basketball founders.


The 12th of February 2020 we have received a statement from the INF confirming Martina Bergman Österberg as the founder of netball.


The statement is as follows;

“Other than the records held by Bergman Österberg as shown on their website, INF holds no further historical evidence reaching back so far.  INF can confirm,  based on the Bergman Österberg evidence, that Madam Österberg is widely credited as being the founder of the sport of Net-ball. The first rules of Net-ball were developed and published by the Ling Association in 1901”

Christina Davidson, INF Secretariat


This is exciting news to Swedish netball and is compounded by the strange coincidence that since 2009 we have played netball in Stockholm at the same school that Martina studied 130 years ago, Gymnastik Idrottshögskolan (GIH), formerly CGI.


Time to correct history


Netball Sweden is now pursuing correcting the online history of netball and bringing awareness and credit to the efforts of Martina Bergman Österberg and her students for the founding of netball. Martina would have been proud that this sport developed at her physical education school in the UK has and continues to have such a positive effect on women and the drive for equality around the world.


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