Past and present WNBL stars are to deliver a petition to the ABC calling on it to reverse its decision to stop televising the competition live due to budget cuts.
Four generations of Australian Olympic captains, Jenny Cheesman, Michelle Timms, Rachel Sporn and Lauren Jackson, are among signatories to the near-5000 signature petition to be delivered by former Opals skipper Shelly Gorman at the ABC’s Ultimo offices in Sydney on Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s crunch time,” said superstar Jackson in a statement.
“We want the ABC to change its mind.
“Surely there is an alternative option that doesn’t have the same far reaching impacts to women, sport and health?”
Carolyn Watts, a past WNBL player, started the petition and said presentations would also be made in Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth.
“The ABC has been with us for 30 years, it’s like breaking up a marriage,” said Watts.
“In one fell swoop it’s over.
“They have clearly underestimated the role played by the WNBL.
“It’s not just about people watching sport, it’s also about young women playing sport, it’s about physical activity, it’s about gold medals.”
She added: “This petition demonstrates the disappointment shared by many Australians who have witnessed a long term partner throw in the towel as soon as times got tough.”
Former world player of the year Timms expressed dismay at the ABC decision which came after the ABC budget was slashed by $254 million.
“This great game needs live broadcasting and the community wants live broadcasting.
“37,000 viewers last week alone. It’s shocking that the ABC would do this when the league has never been stronger.”