The game of netball was first played in Abu Dhabi in 1976, when Linda Taylor, an Ex-England international captain started playing at Al Khuairat School. Initially play was on sand courts and in car parks, but so popular did it prove that, four years later, the Abu Dhabi Downes Netball League was officially formed.
Games were played at The British Club on 1 court with just 6 teams and matches of 2 x 15 minute halves. Players consisted mostly of housewives and teachers with games held in the early afternoon. By the late 1980s the number of teams started increasing due to an increase in the expat population and the popular demand for the sport. To enable women working in other professions to play in the competition, game timings were changed to evenings. Tuesday nights came to be known as “netball night” in Abu Dhabi. In 1998 the name changed to the Abu Dhabi Netball League.
Over the years, games have been held at the following venues:
1976 – 1979 Car parks
1980 – 2004 British Club
2005 – 2007 Abu Dhabi Golf and Equestrian Club
2008 – 2009 Sheikh Zayed Private Academy for Girls
2010-2011 Marina Village
2011-2012 Intercontinental Hotel
2014 – Present Zayed Sports City
As the League has grown, so has the need to move with the times and relocate the venue to ensure optimum facilities. The ADNL home base is now at Zayed Sports City with 3 floodlit courts, full shower facilities, a coffee shop as well as a Gatro Sports Bar offering drinks and food.
ADNL is the second largest netball league in the UAE, after Dubai, with over 200 members and growing. Over the years, teams have managed to secure sponsors while ADNL seek to partner with other businesses to further develop the League.
The executive committee consists of four (4) mandatory positions with sub-committees who all volunteer their unpaid time to support, develop and grow the League. Each member has a critical role to play and an opportunity to make a significant contribution to the development of netball in the capital.