The ECB has released the details of a new action plan which it hopes will transform women’s and girls’ cricket in England and Wales.
The commitment, part of the ECB’s ‘Inspiring Generations’ strategy for 2020-2024, will see £20m worth of funding invested into women’s cricket over the next two years, while the governing body says it hopes to invest £50m over the five-year period.
Focusing on five key areas, the plan aims to drive participation at grassroots level; develop aspiring female cricketing talent; overhaul the women’s cricket structure; elevate the profile of the women’s game, and increase the representation of women in the cricket workforce.
The governing body also says it will fund 40 new full-time professional domestic contracts on top of the existing centrally contracted England Women players.
A pilot programme has been launched with 600 local cricket clubs across the country, which the ECB says will give it a better understanding into how to create a sustainable women’s and girls’ cricket programme.
Clare Connor, Managing Director of Women’s Cricket, ECB, said: “Cricket has been an integral part of my life, as a player and in my role of Managing Director of Women’s Cricket. I have never been more excited by the opportunity in front of us right now.
“Recent initiatives have given women and girls more opportunities to play, such as All Stars Cricket for 5-8-year-olds, the South Asian female activators programme, and the Kia Super League for our most talented domestic cricketers. But to truly transform women’s and girls’ cricket, we must now move from targeted standalone programmes to addressing the whole pathway as one.
“We have an amazing opportunity to make cricket the sport we want it to be - a sport that is modern, innovative and inclusive. I have been so heartened by the level of enthusiasm, commitment and support for this plan from everyone involved in cricket.”
Tom Harrison, CEO, ECB said: “During the development of Inspiring Generations, and extensive conversations and research across the game, the strong appetite to transform cricket’s relationship with women and girls was abundantly clear.
“There is tremendous energy across the cricket network to pursue the game’s largest growth opportunity and to increase the number of women and girls playing, watching and volunteering at every level of the game.
“This plan, formed in collaboration with the whole cricket network, and supported by our commercial and media partners, represents a crucial step in achieving our ambition of making cricket a gender-balanced sport.”