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In a historic agreement between New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and New Zealand Cricket Players’ Association (NZCPA) the total player payments for New Zealand’s women’s players have been more than doubled. The number of central contracts have been increased from 15 to 17, while a number of domestic players will also now be contracted.

The agreement is the result of negotiations between the NZCPA and NZC and, when finalised, will replace the former Memorandum of Understanding, which expired on July 31. Now, a total of 79 players in New Zealand will become part of the game’s high performance system.

Amy Satterthwaite, New Zealand’s captain, called the resulting ‘Women’s Master Agreement’ a progressive accord that provides another significant step forward in the women’s game in the country. She hailed the board’s decision to provide financial stability to the players below international level, saying it was an important step in the growth of the game.

“I know people tend to focus on the White Ferns’ contracts but the investment in domestic and developing players is an important step forward for women’s cricket in New Zealand,” Satterthwaite said on Tuesday (August 13). “This is an agreement that recognises the need to grow the game at grassroots and domestic level in order to produce White Ferns who excel on the world stage.”

The increase in remuneration under the three-year agreement means the centrally contracted players can now ply their trade as full-time professionals while also having the flexibility to participate in overseas leagues. Each player will now earn a minimum amount of between $44,000 to $64,000 annually, in addition to which they will also each get up to $16,000 in match fees.

“With the ICC Women’s World Cup 2021 on the horizon, this will mean a great deal in terms of upskilling and training, and providing the best possible environment for preparing ourselves and the team,” Satterthwaite added.

The agreement also sees the introduction of eight development player contracts, while for the first time, domestic players will also be paid by their associations. Nine selected players from each of the six domestic teams— adding up to a total of 54 players— according to their availability for the two domestic tournaments will earn an amount worth $3,250.

The features of the agreement are as follows:

•A total Player Payment Pool of $4.136m across the three-year term

•Domestic players included for the first time, increasing the total number of players on contract to 79 – up from 15 in the previous agreement

•17 (up from 15) centrally contracted players earning a minimum remuneration of between $44,000 and $64,000 annually. This includes a retainer payment, a retirement fund contribution and a promotional payment

•In addition, international players can each earn up to $16,000 in match fees per year

•8 centrally contracted Development Players earning $7,500 for participating in NZC high performance programmes and the two domestic competitions

•54 (nine per Major Association) domestic players on Domestic Competition Agreements worth $3,250 – in consideration of their availability for the Super Smash and Hallyburton Johnstone competitions

•Players continuing to have the right to participate in overseas T20 competitions in Australia, England and India

Following the announcement, Suzie Bates also indicated her appreciation saying the investement at the grassroots level showed a more strategic approach from the board in terms of wanting to grow women’s cricket in New Zealand.

“This agreement will hopefully make the game more attractive and accessible for young, aspiring players,” said the former skipper. “From what I can see, it provides a great framework and starting point for the eventual semi-professionalisation of the women’s domestic game in New Zealand – and that’s probably the most important point in the entire agreement.”

Domestic players, including Arlene Kelly from Auckland Hearts, has welcomed the new agreement describing it as a key plank in the development pathway for New Zealand women’s cricket.

“It’s awesome to see the domestic players brought into a new agreement and our commitment to the game being recognised by NZC,” said Kelly. “We now have a genuine pathway to international cricket that young female players can aspire to.”

Heath Mills, the NZCPA chief executive, expressed his delight with the outcome of the agreement, while also recognising the importance of the contribution of overseas T20 competitions.

“We’re particularly pleased with the inclusion of domestic players in the contracting environment,” he said. “Providing a framework for 79 players to be part of the game’s high-performance system is a major development that, quite apart from anything else, reflects a genuine appetite to grow the women’s game here in New Zealand.”

According to David White, NZC chief executive, the negotiations had been ‘thorough and robust’, but he maintained that both parties worked together with a common goal: to see the advancement of women’s cricket in New Zealand. White added that the agreement had been made for a three-year term, so that it expires along with the men’s agreement in 2022.

“I want to thank the NZCPA and the women’s cricketers for negotiating in such good faith and for never backing away from the absolute priority we all share: to advance the women’s game in the most effective and expedient way possible.This agreement, I think, addresses two key areas – it significantly increases the White Ferns remuneration to reflect the growing commitment of our international players, and it seeks to invest in our domestic, developing and emerging players,” White said.

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