World Netball launched its first athlete working group in 2021 ©Getty Images

World Netball officials have hailed the appointment of an athlete director to the sport’s governing Board as "a groundbreaking move."

The athlete director will be one of two new positions on the Board which runs the sport.

Officials have claimed that the move will "address World Netball’s strategic aim to ensure the voice of the athlete is at the heart of strategic discussions and decision-making."

It was approved by a 96 per cent majority.

The decision would "give athletes a voice at the highest level of World Netball demonstrating a commitment to supporting them and providing opportunities to develop our future leaders," officials said.

World Netball launched its "Voice of the Athlete" working group last year.

The appointment of an athlete director to World Netball's governing Board is being seen as a
The appointment of an athlete director to World Netball's governing Board is being seen as a "groundbreaking move" ©Getty Images

The presence of an Athletes Commission was listed by the International Olympic Committee as one of 33 key criteria in its evaluation of any sport for Olympic inclusion.

Applications for the role are already being sought by World Netball.

"The successful candidate will enhance decision-making by providing objective scrutiny and offering an independent perspective and diversity of thought," the criteria said.

Applicants are expected to "have played netball at the international level within the last four years."

Meanwhile members also voted to increase the number of independent directors on the Board by converting the elected finance director role to that of independent finance director. 

World Netball signalled that it is "particularly interested in receiving applications from qualified accountants (or equivalent) with extensive Board level experience."

Both posts are voluntary and for a term of four years.

In each case, the deadline for submissions is 5pm GMT on January 20 2023.