Netball New Zealand stands by Maria Folau

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Netball NZ stood by their player and said: "Maria Folau has not breached NNZ policy. Photo: Getty Images
Netball New Zealand is standing beside Maria Folau as controversy surrounds her support of husband Israel, and her religious views.

In a statement, Netball NZ stood by their player and said: "Maria Folau has not breached NNZ policy.

"Netball New Zealand values inclusion and diversity across all areas of the community and our sport whether its gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexuality, religion, and we take responsibility as role models for young New Zealanders very seriously.

"We acknowledge that people have differing views and beliefs. It is important those opinions and views are expressed in constructive and respectful ways."

Meanwhile, one of Netball New Zealand's major sponsors, ANZ, has raised concerns about Folau's support for her husband.

A spokesman for ANZ, the naming rights sponsor of the domestic premiership, told Stuff it does not support "the views of Silver Fern Maria Folau" and has made that known to Netball NZ, but will continue its support for the game more generally.

Netball Australia and South Australia both issued statements on the future of Maria Folau Sunday, given her support of husband Israel, and her religious views.

The Adelaide Thunderbirds star, like her husband is deeply religious, and reposted Israel's initial Instagram post, where he asked for people to donate up to $3 million to help him fund his legal battle against Rugby Australia.

Maria will return to Auckland this week for the Silver Ferns as they begin preparations for the upcoming Netball World Cup taking place in Liverpool in July.

As the tournament draws closer, the questions surrounding Maria will only increase and the pressure on the organisation will multiply.

Netball South Australia CEO Bronwyn Klei released a statement on Maria Folau and while the federation did not back her they did not whack her either, taking a diplomatic stand.

"First and foremost, I want to be very clear that Netball South Australia is fiercely determined to provide an inclusive environment that allows anyone to participate in the great game of netball regardless of gender, religious belief, age, race or sexual orientation," Klei's statement said.

"We also believe in fairness and perspective.

"Like millions of other people across Australia, Maria Folau uses her personal social media platform to share her life and beliefs with her family, friends and fans. This week, she shared her husband's controversial GoFundMe post.

"While Netball SA in no way endorses the reposting, we do not believe Maria has contravened our social media policy.

"Maria is a key member of the Thunderbirds. Not only has she provided great strength and leadership on court, she attends and works with netballing clinics, spends a lot of time with fans, engages with local communities and passionately encourages kids with their netball dreams.

"We continue to support her as we support all our players."

The statement then went on to clarify Netball SA's position on equality in terms of gender and inclusiveness.

"To the thousands of people that play netball across South Australia every week:

"Netball SA is not endorsing Maria's repost.

"Netball SA is committed to diversity and inclusion.

"Netball SA and the Adelaide Thunderbirds support and encourage everyone wanting to play this great game."

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