Cricket plans way to pay parity for homegrown players

Cricket is at the box, becoming the first major Australian sport to achieve equal pay nationally after a landmark deal was struck to significantly increase the earnings of women players.

Women emerged as the biggest winners of the cricket pay deal on Monday, with an additional $53 million in the player pool over the next five years and a 66 percent pay rise.

These gains will be felt most clearly at the national level, where the average salary package for players with state and WBBL deals will be $151,000.

The majority of dual format players will also be making six figures for the first time, with state minimum contracts set at around $60,000 and the lowest-paid WBBL players at nearly $20,000.

Match payments have also been equalized with men, at just over $2,000 per day played, pushing salaries to the highest in women’s sports.

The numbers leave female retainers in state contracts at 70 percent of their male counterparts, with a genuine belief that parity can be achieved in future deals.

“We’re on a journey,” said Nick Hockley, CEO of Cricket Australia.

“We’ve seen an overall 26 percent increase in player salaries, but a 66 percent increase in payments to our players.

“We’re on a path, we’re not there yet. But we’ve made a big step forward to close the gap.”

Both CA and the players’ union will focus on further commercializing the game, with a doubling of the WBBL salary cap to $732,000 to retain the best overseas talent.

“Unlocking commercialization is key,” said former Australian star Rachael Haynes.

“If we do that, I think we’ll get parity.

“Giving players more time to invest in themselves and their game obviously helps them get better.”

The number of professional women cricketers has increased along with their pay; With Cricket Australia, contracts increased from 15 to 18 and two additional contracts were allocated to each side of state.

This means there will be a total of 130 professional women cricketers in Australia, up from 113.

The deal sets cricket apart from other Australian women’s team sports.

Super Netball, who are set to announce a new salary contract soon, reportedly have a minimum salary of $43,000 and a maximum of $75,000 with no additional match payments.

The AFLW minimum wage is nearly $40,000 with a maximum of $47,000, while NRLW players earn a minimum of $30,000 and a maximum of $38,000.

Officials also predict several players could break the $1 million mark by combining their national salaries, WBBL deals and foreign contracts.

While national contracts are well below men’s, the highest earning woman is now making $800,000 from her contracts with Australia and WBBL combined, while the next six will average $500,000.

“I think we’re going to have a couple of millionaires in the next few years,” said Todd Greenberg, CEO of the Australian Cricketers Association.

“And they should be, because they’re the best in the world at what they do.” Cricket plans way to pay parity for homegrown players

Russell Falcon

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