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Commission recommends 'fundamental overhaul' of women's cricket pay structure

Equity of pay across international and domestic cricket by 2030 necessary to address "historic underinvestment" in women's game

Heather Knight and Kate Cross are in a huddle, England vs Australia, Only Test, Women's Ashes, Nottingham, first day, June 22, 2023

The commission found England's men received 13 times the amount paid to their female counterparts in 2021  •  ECB/Getty Images

The Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) has recommended the ECB oversees "a fundamental overhaul" to the pay structure of women's cricket in England and Wales.
As part of the 317-page report published on Tuesday, the ICEC highlighted the disparity in the amounts paid to male and female professionals as an area to address. Its recommendations include equal pay at domestic level by 2029 and international level by 2030, as well as an immediate equalisation of international match fees for men and women.
The commission found that in 2021, "England Men received 13 times the amount paid to England Women". While the report acknowledges this reflects the fact women play less Test cricket, "credible evidence" showed the average salary for England Women was 20.6% the average of their male equivalents for playing limited-overs cricket - although the ECB considers this figure closer to 30%.
Further disparity was unearthed around international match fees. While women receive 25% or less of the men's fees, only those in the playing XI are paid, as opposed to the full squad as it is with the men. Given injury payments are calculated as a portion of match fees, that inequality becomes compounded.
Differences in bonuses were also stark, with the report finding England Women's fixed bonus pot equates to around 8% of the men's, whose win bonuses are structured through a matrix considering each match win and then its contribution to a series win. Another area for improvement is ensuring women receive the same benefits as men at international matches. These include overseas tour premiums, hospitality provisions such as tickets, hospitality boxes for family at weekends, and transport for families to and from matches.
The commission felt England Women's average salaries, commercial pay, fees, bonuses and captain's allowances should be equal to England Men's in white-ball by 2028. They also advised the ECB to top-up prize money for the women's ODI and T20I World Cups to mirror the men until the ICC fixes that gap.
"There should be overall equal pay at international level by 2030," the report said. "By this, we mean average pay, because we recognise that there will be different levels of pay within the teams, with the top players (men or women) being paid the most."
The recommendations around domestic cricket include salaries and bonuses in the women's Hundred to be equal by 2025 and fully professional women's regional teams by 2025. This includes rookie contracts introduced by the start of the 2024 season and a minimum salary equal to those in effect for first-class county players (circa £27,500).
"The women's game remains the poor relation of its male counterpart in English and Welsh cricket," the commission said. "Whilst we found good evidence of significant year-on-year improvement, we also found undeniable evidence of inequitable investment and unequal treatment for which we found no reasonable justification. Significant pay disparities persist.
"We consider it a matter of both fairness and justice that this is remedied at speed. Women have the right to equal pay for equal work and should not be penalised for having fewer opportunities to play than their male counterparts. Importantly, if the commitment to make cricket in England and Wales equitable is serious, it requires the game to acknowledge and address the historic underinvestment and lack of fair (or indeed any) remuneration that women have faced for decades."

Vithushan Ehantharajah is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo