15 Aug 2016

White Ferns salary gap reflects revenue - New Zealand Cricket

3:33 pm on 15 August 2016

The amount women cricketers are paid is "an evolution" and eventually they should become full-time professionals, New Zealand Cricket says.

White Ferns captain Suzie Bates.

White Ferns captain Suzie Bates in action against Australia earlier this year. Photo: Photosport

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) announced today it would offer 15 players retainers to play for the White Ferns, ranging from $20,000 to $34,000.

Under the previous agreement it had with the Cricket Players Association, 10 players a year were paid retainers between $10,000 and $12,000.

That would at least double - and in some cases triple - the retainers paid to New Zealand's top women players.

When match fees for International Cricket Council (ICC) events were added in, some women would now be earning more than $40,000 a year, NZC said.

On top of that, the new contracts allowed players to compete in domestic competitions in other countries, such as the Australian Big Bash league.

However, the pay increases still left White Fern salaries well behind the Black Caps.

A schedule of Black Caps retainers showed the lowest-ranked squad member would be paid more than $83,000 for the coming season, rising to $200,000 for the top-ranked player.

But NZC chief executive David White defended the modest women's retainers, saying the men's game still generated the vast majority of NZC revenue - which in turn funded the women's side.

"We get ICC funding, which is linked to the international broadcast rights from the ICC events, which pretty much 100 percent is on the back of the men's game," he said.

"The differences in the pay reflect that."

He hoped that would change, though.

The ICC was starting to broadcast more women's games from the World Cup and the Twenty20 competition and NZC was hopeful that the series against Australia early next year would be broadcast, Mr White said.

"This is an evolution. We've gone from full-time amateur to semi-professional and hopefully in years to come there will be significantly more revenue for everyone."

The retainers also reflected how often the respective teams played, he said.

The White Ferns' schedule was getting increasingly busy but was still not nearly as jam-packed as the Black Caps.

Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills said the increase was a "big step forward".

"It's not quite where we'd like it to be ... but it will enable those women who play in the Big Bash league and so on - they will now become full-time cricketers."

The Players Association hoped that would extend to the entire women's side in coming years, Mr Mills said.

"In the last six months to a year New Zealand Cricket appear to have changed their focus ... and started to put more investment and resource into women's cricket.

"We'd like to get to the stage where all the players were full-time professionals."

White Ferns coach Haidee Tiffen said the pay increases would help to sustain the team's presence in the top rankings of women's international cricket.

The team is ranked third among 10 teams, behind Australia and England.

Earlier this year, captain Suzie Bates was named Leading Women's Cricketer of the World by cricketing bible Wisden.