Northern Spirit cricketers to be paid this summer

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FAIR REWARD: Northern Spirit players like bowler Morna Nielsen will be paid retainers this summer. PHOTO/FILE A_JS231112NADCRICK095
FAIR REWARD: Northern Spirit players like bowler Morna Nielsen will be paid retainers this summer. PHOTO/FILE A_JS231112NADCRICK095

In a historical move for New Zealand domestic cricket, Northern Districts have announced today that they will be offering retainer packages to their contracted female players, the first to do so of the six major associations.

Previously only compensated for travel, the Northern Spirit players will now be paid a fee of between $500 and $4000 depending on their ranking.

Peter Roach, CEO of Northern Districts Cricket said the move supported the associations greater focus on the women's game this season.

"While it is not a salary as such, we feel it is important to compensate and support our female players, many of who have families, study or work commitments to consider as well as their cricket schedule. It is simply the right thing to do."

"Players striving to play at the top level give up a lot to chase their dreams.

"Adequately compensating them for their actual expenses and time away from loved ones will allow our players to give greater focus to their game, which will lift their performances and give them another reason to remain involved."

Internationally, monetary salaries and compensation are on the increase for the female cricketer, with England and Australia both offering full-time professional contracts to their international players - and leagues such as the Big Bash give the opportunity for women players to earn significant sums of money over a short period.

New Zealand cricket offer semi-professional contracts to their top 10 contracted White Fern players.

Roach sees this as a compulsory step forward to make cricket a viable sporting option for female athletes.

"We are really pleased to be in a position to back our Northern Spirit players financially, and hopefully in the future this will result in an increased interest from talented sportswomen who could choose from a number of sporting codes - we want cricket to be top of mind.

"Very few female team sports offer decent remuneration and the opportunity to travel the world. Cricket is now in that space."

Northern Districts have many initiatives in the pipeline to grow the female game after identifying a high drop off after junior level.

They have employed a Women's Cricket Officer who will start in September to oversee and develop cricket in the region through the junior GoGirl programme, high performance programme and a new women's competition that will be launched in October.

The Northern Spirit schedule is yet to be announced for the upcoming season.
The list of contracted Northern Spirit players will be released in August.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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