While the ECB still hopes to award 40 new full-time professional contracts to women cricketers this year, there has been little communication from the governing body on the matter according to Lancashire left-arm spinner Alex Hartley.
As part of a revamp of women’s domestic cricket, the ECB announced last October that 40 full-time contracts would be awarded this year as part of a new eight-team regional structure. Those contracts were set to come into effect on May 1, but the process has been delayed by the ramifications of the coronavirus crisis.
Clare Connor, the ECB’s managing director of women’s cricket, has said that “we are still hopeful of awarding those 40 contracts this year”, but the delay has left those who looked set to earn a living through the game this summer in limbo. Another blow to the finances of women cricketers has been the launch of The Hundred being moved to 2021.
Hartley, whose England central contract expired at the start of this year, is vying for one of the new playing contracts, but claims that she has had to follow recent developments on the matter through the media rather than the ECB.
“My big issue with this is that everything I’m reading in the papers and on Twitter and the internet is the first I’ve ever heard of anything,” Hartley told the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast. “If I’m potentially one of these contracted players, I’m finding things out through the media.
“From my point of view, losing my England contract and then being told, ‘You can still be a professional cricketer from April, and then there’s The Hundred, you’ll earn a decent wage’ – now it’s May 7 and I haven’t heard a single thing. I’m jobless, I’ve got no income, no car, I’ve got a mortgage. It’s getting to the point where I’m going to have to get a job.”
Hartley added that a Zoom meeting has been arranged for next Thursday by the ECB to share information with women county cricketers.
Speaking to reporters earlier this week Connor revealed that the ECB is exploring the set-up of a “kind of retainer system” for those who were in line for the new contracts, offering financial packages lower than full-time salaries.
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