Australia news May 21, 2013

Australia women's cricketers get major pay boost

Members of the Australia women's cricket team will be among the country's highest-paid female athletes as part of a restructure of the Cricket Australia contract system. The leading players could earn up to $80,000 over the next year as part of the new payment programme, with the top player retainer having increased from $15,000 to $52,000 and the minimum retainer having been boosted from $5000 to $25,000.

There has also been a substantial increase in the player tour payments from $100 a day to $250 a day, which could add up significantly over the next year, when the national team will be touring for 85 days. Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland said the move was "a landmark step" for women's cricket and a fine recognition of the success of the Australians, who currently hold both the World Cup and World Twenty20 titles.

"We are still working towards the day when Australia's female cricketers will be able to earn a full-time, professional living from cricket," Sutherland said. "But the performances of our female stars justify this step and the day will come when future, full-time professional female cricketers will look back and thank those who went before them."

Sutherland said the success of the national team had contributed to a boost in female cricket participation, which has increased by 18% in the past year to 180,000 female participants across Australia. State players will also benefit from the cash injection, with Cricket Australia to provide each state and the ACT with $100,000 a year to help fund minimum standards for women's cricketers contracted to play in the national competitions.

"This is a massive boost for women's cricket in Australia and I know all players thank CA and ACA [the Australian Cricketers' Association] for agreeing to this additional funding," current Australia player Alex Blackwell said. "Female players have never been better supported. With women's cricket growing both here and internationally, the opportunities for players are increasing. These extra dollars will help strike a balance between the sacrifices required to reach the top levels and the rewards that come with this. It's a great time to be playing and makes you look at the upcoming season with a huge level of excitement."

Lisa Sthalekar, who has recently retired from international cricket but remains a member of the ACA executive, said: "For such a long time, female cricketers have trained and played at the highest levels but took a financial hit to do so. From paying for a lot of their expenses to sacrificing earnings for time away from work, the cost has been significant to this point - and forced too many players to retire prematurely. These funds help show how far women's cricket has come in recent times and will provide a wonderful incentive to current and future players to follow their dreams within a more supportive financial environment."

The first group of national players who will benefit from the new payment system has also been named. Fourteen players will be contracted for the next year, down from 18 last season, with the intention to concentrate on a core group of players.

Holly Ferling, 17, has been added to the squad after impressing on debut at the World Cup earlier this year, while other additions from last year's list include Ellyse Villani and Megan Schutt. Along with the newly-retired Sthalekar, the other players left out from the 2012-13 squad are Lauren Ebsary, Sarah Elliott, Sharon Millanta and Leah Poulton.

Contract list for 2013-14 Alex Blackwell, Jess Cameron, Sarah Coyte, Holly Ferling, Jodie Fields, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Julie Hunter, Jess Jonassen, Meg Lanning, Erin Osborne, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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  • Shirley on May 22, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    It has taken too long to get to this increase for such fine and successful players. I think it is appalling that these women representing our country have had to pay their own way, especially when their performances have outstripped their peers and male counterparts....About time!

  • Mariam on May 22, 2013, 2:45 GMT

    Good work CA, this will set the benchmark for all other nations.

  • Simon on May 22, 2013, 2:40 GMT

    Totally agree with you Marty_McLean. How dare the best female athletes in this nation get paid for their work? I mean, $250 a day whilst on tour representing your country is a ludicrously high amount to pay for someone who has trained and worked on their abilities every bit as hard as a male athlete... next thing you know they'll want to be paid for doing housework.

    I'm also glad to see that somewhere out there measures success in terms of money and not in the usual, namby pamby way sports do - i.e. winning matches and trophies for their nation. What a horrible, horrible world it would be if we started measuring people in terms of merit and their accomplishments rather than how much money they bring in. Screw actually winning the Ashes, as long as we have Warner and Johnson bringing in the sponsors dollars, it'll be a win in our books!

  • Martin on May 21, 2013, 8:08 GMT

    No wonder Australian cricket is in turmoil. Wherever you have a bureaucracy running anything you get other people's money spent on such feel good things as fairness and equality.

    'James Sutherland said the move was "a landmark step" for women's cricket and a fine recognition of the success of the Australians...'"

    And just what revenue generating "success" is he talking about? Try other people's success. The WNBA is funded by the men's NBA because it loses $20 million a year. The US women's soccer league was a total bust and now the lame spectator sport of women's cricket is heading towards its players being able to "earn a full-time, professional living from cricket." Apparently.

    The naivety here towards pro sports theory is astonishing but the persuasiveness of political correctness and feminism knows no bounds.

    Women's professional cricket? Where is Dr. Warren Farrell when you need him!

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2013, 7:40 GMT

    Fantastic for womens cricket in Australia! CA has definitely got this one right. Great to see the participation numbers climbing too, all good stuff!

  • Andrew on May 21, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    Great stuff. Oz leading the way towards parity between the sexes in this sport. Now if the TV rights included televising a womens BBL, the pie could be grown further - worth a thought!

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