The president of World Netball has said the relaunch of the Netball Super League in the UK from 2025 is “the right step”, after receiving a damehood at Windsor Castle.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Dame Liz Nicholl said the move to professionalise the league will provide a platform for future England players “to be able to develop their skills”.

She added the league will offer English netball players “the opportunity to play with and against the world’s best”.

Dame Liz said that England Netball is “on a journey” and that the England team’s historic run to the Netball World Cup final in South Africa over the summer will have “inspired more youngsters” to take up the sport.

“England Netball is doing a great job in terms of providing opportunities for participation, but also performance through their super league structure,” she added.

The former international netballer, who represented Wales at two world cups in the 1970s, said receiving the damehood from the Princess Royal was “incredible”.

“Nobody ever thinks in their life that they’re going to receive an honour such as this,” she said.

Dame Liz was appointed as the first chief executive of England Netball in 1980 and she also served as chief executive of UK Sport from 2010 to 2019 – overseeing medal success for the Olympic and Paralympic Great Britain teams during this period.

“When I became the CEO of England Netball, there was only me – I was the first full-time member of staff and I had to learn how to be a leader. But I learned that in a very supportive netball community, who encouraged and advised me – and that’s why I stayed there so long.”

She said that netball has “come on leaps and bounds” since the early 1980s – the sport was first included in the Commonwealth Games in 1998 and Dame Liz said that all of World Netball’s members “would really love to be in the Olympic Games”.

However, she added that it was a “tough challenge to actually gain inclusion” as there are international federations for other sports with more members.

“We’re on a journey and it is an ultimate ambition, but we’re going to do whatever’s good for netball in the first instance.”