Netball emerged from early versions of basketball and evolved into its own sport as the number of women participating in sports increased. Martina Bergman-Österberg introduced a version of basketball in 1893 to her female students at the Physical Training College in Hampstead, London. The rules of the game were modified at the college over several years. Österberg's new sport acquired the name "net ball". The first codified rules of netball were published in 1901 by the Ling Association, later the Physical Education Association of the United Kingdom.
From England, netball spread to other countries in the British Empire, in Australia around 1900, New Zealand from 1906,in Jamaican schools by 1909, etc. From the start, it was considered socially appropriate for women to play netball. Netball became a popular women's sport in countries where it was introduced and spread rapidly through school systems. School leagues and domestic competitions emerged during the first half of the 20th century, and in 1924 the first national governing body was established in New Zealand. Australia hosted New Zealand in the first international game of netball in Melbourne in 1938.
Efforts began in 1957 to standardise netball rules globally, by 1960 international playing rules had been standardised, and the International Federation of Netball and Women's Basketball (now the International Netball Federation (INF)), was formed. Netball's popularity increased during the 1970s. The game spread to African countries, United States, also became popular in the Pacific Islands... In 1963, the first international tournament was held in Eastbourne, England. Originally called the World Tournament, it later became known as the first Netball World Cup. As of 2006, the IFN recognises only women's netball. Men's netball teams exist in some areas but attract less attention from sponsors and spectators.