ENGLAND CRICKET NEWS
With the plan to hand out 40 domestic contracts shelved temporarily, the newly-introduced retainers are aimed at easing out the financial stress on up to 24 women cricketers in the interim. © Getty
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is set to offer up to 24 domestic women cricketers retainer payouts from June 1 to help ease the financial burden after their season was interrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown.
As per the original plan, as a part of their effort to pump more money into the women’s and girls’ cricket in the country, the ECB was set to offer 40 full-time summer contracts across the eight regional sides in September. In the interim, the retainer system has been introduced to support few of those players financially in this time of an unprecedented crisis, said Clare Connor, the ECB’s managing director of women’s cricket.
“The momentum behind the women’s game has been staggering in the last few years and it is still firmly our ambition to build on that,” Connor said on Tuesday (May 19). “As we emerge from this pandemic, we believe even more strongly that cricket will be a sport that throws its arms around everyone – truly inclusive, diverse and a sport for modern Britain to be proud of.
The decision to defer the launch of The Hundred to 2021 had left many women players on the English domestic circuit staring at the prospect of zero income from the sport this season. This was due to be the most exciting year in the game’s history for our leading domestic players. A number of them would have been hoping to sign a full-time contract with one of our eight Regions this summer. While we still intend to award those full-time contracts in 2020, we want to try to support our players as much as we can until that point, hence the introduction of these Retainers to provide an interim solution.
“As the effects of COVID-19 on the rest of the summer and beyond become more apparent, we will continue to support our players to the best of our ability, and we promise them that our drive for a more gender-balanced sport remains vitally important.”
The eight regional sides have been tasked with recruiting players for this new retainer scheme. The selected players will have to take part in ECB-directed strength and conditioning programmes as well as online educational courses on topics including anti-corruption and anti-doping, besides the media commitments that their regional hubs may require.
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