Female Super Smash players to be paid same fee as men

Northern Spirits opener Katie Gurrey guides the ball past Otago Sparks wicketkeeper Katey Martin...
Northern Spirits opener Katie Gurrey guides the ball past Otago Sparks wicketkeeper Katey Martin during their twenty20 match at Molyneux Park in Alexandra in December last year. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Female provincial cricketers are set to be paid next summer.

And they may pick up the same match fee in the Super Smash as the men do.

While New Zealand Cricket and the New Zealand Cricket Players Association only sat down to discuss this issue in earnest for the first time yesterday, there is a lot of goodwill from both sides.

It is a complex issue, though. Women's cricket is structured very differently to men's cricket and working through the challenges will not be easy.

But NZCPA chief executive Heath Mills said there was a willingness from NZC to put more resources into the women's game.

"We are about to commence negotiations with NZC for a new MOU [memorandum of understanding] governing the women's game," Mills said.

"And for the first time we are going to be advocating for the domestic female players.

"I can't go into detail of what we are going to be discussing. But we've been busy over the last few months working with the players ... and we are looking forward to getting around the table."

Whether the negotiations resulted in women being paid to play at domestic level was uncertain, he said.

"We haven't even begun discussing the ins and outs of a payment structure, if there is to be one at all. But we look forward to doing that in the next few weeks.

"But it is a complex issue and we have to work through a process with NZC.

"What we need to discuss is what is the plan for the women's game? Where is it going? And how are we going to look to improve the environment around the international team the White Ferns?

"Those are all questions for NZC and we want to hear what their answers are before we can get into the nitty-gritty of contracts, retainers and obligations."

While Mills was reluctant to go into detail, a source told the Otago Daily Times it would not be a surprise if the female Super Smash players were paid the same match fee as the men - $575 per game.

And Fairfax media reported Northern Districts had wanted to pay their female players that amount for each Super Smash game this season. But the association backtracked after being informed by NZC the payment would jeopardise upcoming negotiations for the MOU.

Payment is only one issue in the women's game, though. There are other structural barriers holding the development back which needed addressing, Mills said.

"Other issues have been raised with us around high performance support, facilities, club competition or the lack of in some areas and also the cost of participating in terms of talking time of work."

Introducing player payments could actually put another barrier in place initially.

Payment would come with greater expectations to train and be part of a more professional environment. But currently the Otago Sparks can have as few as half a dozen players at training.

Work commitments and commuting barriers prevent more from attending. If they had to attend because of the payment involved, they might decide it is not worth the time off work or the expense of travel.

"We are going to be tabling all those things with NZC. But they've indicated to us and said publicly that they want to invest more to try to grow the women's game more.

"So we see the process as constructive and more of a problem-solving one."

 

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