OPINION: Legitimate Questions Regarding “Full Time Professional” Status of England Contracts

Our colleague Martin Davies has taken some stick from the Guardian’s Cricket Correspondent Mike Selvey for asking how much the England women’s contracts are worth in financial terms:

With all due deference to Mr Selvey, we feel this is a legitimate question for one key reason – rumour has it that the Tier 3 contracts are not a full-time living wage. We should stress that this is only a rumour; but the fact that the ECB could if it wanted easily scotch such tittle-tattle but chooses not to, perhaps tells its own story? (After all, they seem happy enough for the men’s salaries to… um… “slip out“.)

Does this really matter? Yes and no! We certainly don’t have a problem with the concept of “part time” contracts, which require players to have “second jobs” as well to support themselves – this very web site is run and financed on just such a basis.

However we keep being told that England’s women cricketers are “full-time professionals”; and yet it is hard to be a “full-time professional” if your “full-time professional” job pays less than a full-time living wage.

So are the 19 really “full time professionals”? Until we know how much the T3 contracts are worth, the answer is that we genuinely don’t know… and that’s why it was a legitimate question to ask.

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6 thoughts on “OPINION: Legitimate Questions Regarding “Full Time Professional” Status of England Contracts

  1. If the contracts were that good some of the senior players would surely have passed up their Chance to Shine work to the next generation of players? As the answer is they haven’t, I would suggest the contracts are not THAT good.

    Bear in mind that some of these players have suffered personal and financial hardship to get to this stage and deserve huge credit as role models for a game still in transition.

    Unless the WSL takes off though I would still doubt the ECB line on this being a genuine career choice. Football has usurped Cricket in that respect. Just look at the BBC headlines on agents today.

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  2. Until recently an employer myself, I was aware of the minimum wage legislation. Since our workers were highly skilled it was not a number I ever had to consider as I would not have been able to retain them without adequate payment.

    Anyone who has reached the England side, or even the Academy for that matter, would have to be highly skilled too, and as Baz points out will already have made personal and financial sacrifices to get to that point. There have been a number of scandals recently where workers have been made “self-employed” by giving them contracts and the employers in question have been large high-street names. They now receive below the ‘minimum’ wage. I cannot believe that a reputable organisation like the ECB would not reward people fairly for the time and effort they are required to put in, and that reward would be appreciably higher than anyone on the ‘minimum’ or the ‘living’ wage.

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  3. You all sound just a little bit desperate to know this information to be honest. I don’t care how much each player gets. All I want to see is fantastic women’s cricket.

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  4. Agree with Mark.

    ECB has made amazing process and the girls receive far more that previous generations. Some of the lower tier contracts are clearly aimed at those who want to keep a certain balance by retaining another job or study. This is all still very new and until women’s cricket has built such a financial base that it can pay, what some may say for the men are ‘excessively’ high wages, then smart financial decisions need to be made as to where the available funds are targeted for maximum impact.

    I wouldn’t share my wage with anyone so why people think we have a right to know is beyond me. If you looks at social media many of the girls do now have representatives/managers who I have no doubt be advising tothers ensure they get a fair deal! Quite frankly it’s none of our business.

    I’m with Mark…let’s focus on the cricket!

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  5. Wow, Mark and Anon. You should care what the players get paid, at least up to a point. What used to happen was clearly not right, and the argument “well it’s now a bit better than that at least” is not very convincing. I’m glad you want to see good women’s cricket, and the best way to do that is to ensure there are more careers earning upwards of the £20K region. It will increase competition and drive up standards more widely. No one is asking for millions.

    I don’t have a “right” to know about what any wages are, but I think that people need to be aware that the idea the ECB have been putting out that women’s cricket is all of a sudden a genuine career path is a bit of a myth. When only the captain and a handful of others are getting a decent enough wage to not take on other work, it is not a realistic aspiration to make many sacrifices just for a faint chance to get somewhere near that inner circle. If you miss you’ve given up a lot for not much reward. You really need tens, if not hundreds of well paid positions on the books to be able to make those claims.

    And this is my diatribe about Selvey. Of course the question of actual real world wages is a legitimate one. The less people are paid below living wage, the less you can realistically expect from them. Does Selvey realise he is actually asking for less transparency and less information? I am rapidly losing patience with him. He is becoming more and more frustrating. I don’t think he wants to know that some of England’s women players are on pitifully low salaries, because it plays against the false narrative currently doing the rounds that the women’s game is sucking loads of valuable resources away from the men’s. The way CA have been handling (or failing to) the payments to their women’s team should be a prime example of this.

    It’s ridiculous really. There wasn’t that much difference in how England capitulated in Canterbury in the women’s Ashes Test match and how the men capitulated in the second UAE test against Pakistan at Dubai. Except that the men’s team had just won the Ashes a few weeks before. But there is a big difference in what they are paid.

    And they way that Adil Rashid tamely gave away his wicket by chipping it to the infield in that tense battle of attrition to save the test, bore frightening similarities to the way Elwiss got out in the second innings in Canterbury. But while the latter is met with calls to halt ECB funding for women’s cricket, by those not a million miles away from Selvey’s positions on quite a few things I might add, Rashid is hailed as the next big hope for England spinners. Hey, I’m not blaming Rashid, I like the guy. England go on to lose the next Test too, yet I don’t hear anyone calling the current players a drain on the system. Maybe that’s because they’re the best we have. Funny, that, I could say the same thing about the women.

    We’ve had massive negative press recently from a long list of journalists such as Atherton, Allott, Booker (it reads like an A-Z)… Selvey, Swan and a myriad minor keyboard warriors who think they’ve got it all worked out and have gone out of their way to generalise, demean and write off women’s cricket in what have been some breathtakingly ignorant, arrogant and dismissive press articles. News flash – this is a national disgrace and lot of other people looking in from abroad can see it that way too.

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