(Reuters) – The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced a funding boost for women’s cricket of 20 million pounds over the next two years in a bid to increase grassroots participation and make cricket a gender-balanced sport.
With an ambition of investing 50 million pounds over the five years, the ECB launched an action plan that will allow organisations across the domestic cricket network to recruit more dedicated resources.
The funding will also ensure 40 full-time professional, domestic contracts to be handed out in addition to the existing central contracted players for England Women’s elite players.
The ECB’s 10-point plan focuses on increased girls participation, developing a pathway from under-11 to under-17 levels and raising the profile of the women’s game through The Hundred – a new domestic tournament which begins in July 2020.
“We have an amazing opportunity to make cricket the sport we want it to be – a sport that is modern, innovative and inclusive,” Clare Connor, the ECB’s managing director for women’s cricket, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“I have been so heartened by the level of enthusiasm, commitment and support for this plan from everyone involved in cricket.”
As part of the project, the ECB will also launch a new semi-professional, eight-team regional domestic structure for women’s cricket.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Heinrich)