ECB funding increase to take number of professional women cricketers to nearly 100

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As part of a £3.5 million boost for the women’s regional game, the ECB has announced that it will pay 80 professional contracts for female domestic cricketers by early 2023. Full-time domestic contracts were introduced by the organisation in 2020 as part of a new regional structure, and they are distinct from the central contracts provided to England internationals.

In the first year, 40 such contracts were made available, evenly distributed among the eight areas, with the number rising to 48 last year and 56 starting next Tuesday. The original sum will have doubled by February next year, in time for the new season, implying that each area will have at least 10 full-time professional players, but they are able to award extra contracts sponsored by other sources, such as associated county cricket clubs.

The value of ECB-backed contracts is also expected to rise, with each area receiving a quarter-million-pound pay purse, implying that the average income for a female professional domestic cricketer will be £25,000 per year.

The £3.5 million investment also includes funding for a “increase in employee wages and capacity, with an emphasis on science and medicine services in each region.”

“The huge increase in financing we are announcing today will not only continue to raise the performance standards of our domestic players throughout England and Wales, providing the women’s game more strength in depth,” said Clare Connor, interim CEO of the ECB.

“Young girls now have a clearer road to becoming professional cricketers than ever before.”

By February, England and Wales will have around 100 professional female cricketers. Before we announced the new regional organization in 2020, there were less than 20. “We owe it to everyone’s hard work: the players, support staff, and administrators who have supported the vision and propelled this transformation – and to the PCA, for the critical role they’ve played in supporting this advancement through their continuous engagement.”

“When combined with The Hundred’s significant impact, we are witnessing the benefits of professionalisation and collaborative methods of working, and cricket is prospering as a consequence.”

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