Wellington [New Zealand], July 5 (ANI): Women and men will be paid the same amount for representing New Zealand and playing in top-tier domestic matches in a ground-breaking new deal.
New Zealand's professional women's and men's cricketers will receive the same pay for the same play following a landmark deal to combine them in the same agreement.
The five-year deal will see the White Ferns and domestic women's players receive the same match fees as men across all formats and competitions including ODIs, T20Is, Ford Trophy and Dream11 Super Smash level.
The agreement also increases the number of contracts offered to women cricketers in New Zealand and boosts the amount of competitive matches available to emerging players. New Zealand women's team captain Sophie Devine said the agreement was a game-changer for women's cricket.
"It's great for the international and domestic women players to be recognised in the same agreement, alongside the men," Devine said in an official statement released by New Zealand Cricket.
"It's a massive step forward and will be a huge drawcard for young women and girls."New Zealand men's team skipper Kane Williamson added that it is an exciting time for the sport.
"It's really important for the current players to build on the legacy of those who have gone before us, and to support tomorrow's players, both men and women, at all levels. This agreement goes a long way towards achieving that," Williamson said.
The agreement sees the total number of women's domestic contracts increase from 54 to 72. The number of domestic women's annual contracts will also be increased from nine to 12 per team.
An annual women's North vs South series for emerging international players will also be introduced. NZC and the six Major Associations have also committed to additional investment in the community game.
New Zealand's professional men's players will benefit from the deal as they earn higher retainers based on the increased number of matches played, formats contested, and time spent training and playing.
They have also received increases on current levels, the top-ranked Black Caps player able to receive a maximum of $523,396 (up from $459,574), the 10th-ranked $444,196 (up from $377,981), and the 20th-ranked $367,196 (up from $305,453).
The highest-ranked domestic men's player in each Major Association would also be in line to receive a maximum of $102,707 (up from $94,437), the eighth-ranked $87,307 (up from $77,357), and the 16th-ranked $75,207 (up from $64,406).
NZC chief executive David White said the inaugural joint agreement represented important progress for professional cricket in New Zealand.
"I want to thank and congratulate the players and the Major Associations for their part in reaching such a significant agreement," he said.
"This is the most important agreement in our sport, as it binds NZC, the Major Associations, and our players at the hip, and sets the foundation to fund, grow and develop cricket. It's been a collaborative yet very robust negotiation. Importantly, it represents a significant step forward as we continue to grow our investment in women's cricket," he said.
White said that, over the corresponding five-year period, NZC and the six Major Associations had also committed to additional investment in the community game.
NZCPA chief executive Heath Mills was delighted both the men's and women's professional players were now part of the same agreement.
"We're thrilled to now have one agreement that includes our entire playing group. The new agreement ensures the players are well rewarded for what they bring to the game and, importantly, are supported through increased investment in personal development and well-being programmes," he said.
"To complete such an important negotiation in the manner we have speaks volumes of the spirit of the partnership," he added.
Northern Districts' chief executive Ben MacCormack, who was one of the Major Associations' representatives, said the increased resourcing of the domestic game was a focus of the negotiations.
"We're very pleased. It was critical we took a further step towards supporting domestic players, and particularly our women cricketers," he said.
"This is huge for the future of cricket in this country, and we're just thrilled for both sets of domestic players in terms of the progress made," he added. (ANI)