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Netball announces record pay deal for women’s team sports in Australia
Australia’s top netballers are set to benefit from a landmark pay deal that will see the 80 athletes contracted players in next year’s inaugural all-Australian competition share a total wage pool of $5.4 million.
The agreement between Netball Australia, the Australian Netball Players’ Association and the eight participating clubs in the new national netball league will enable each club to spend up to $675,000 to spend on 10 contracted players for the new season.
The minimum salary for the new competition, which features three new franchises and starts in February 2017, will be $27,375 - more than double the previous $13,250 per player in the now defunct ANZ Championship, the trans-Tasman league that split at the conclusion of this past season.
By contrast, women playing in the AFL’s new league next year will have a minimum wage of $5,000 while in cricket, if a player features in both the women’s Twenty20 and one-day domestic leagues, the benchmark is $18,000.
There is no minimum wage set for footballers playing in the W-League.
Announcing the deal, Netball Australia’s Deputy Chief Executive Marne Fechner stated “today’s announcement represents a giant step in our collective aspiration to achieve full-time professionalism for all of our athletes.”
Fechner led the negotiations, which commenced in May immediately following the announcement of Netball’s new five-year broadcast partnerships with the Nine Network and Telstra.
She added “we wanted to set the benchmark for women’s sport, and we absolutely believe that we have achieved this with the new CPA (collective playing agreement).”
The bulk of the payment pool for each club comprises $500,000 in retainer payments, plus up to $150,000 for bona fide employment, education and/or ambassador roles. The remaining payments come from health insurance and technology allowances.
As part of the new deal, all players will be handed 12-month part-time contracts, commencing from 19th September, averaging 20 hours per week, but with the hours of 10am to 4pm protected, to ensure players have the opportunity for additional work or study.
Players who fall pregnant or get injured will be covered financially, with the agreement ensuring 100% income protection on all earnings for up to two years while a parental care policy will also be implemented for players with young children, and up to $1,500 will be given to each player in private health insurance contributions per year.
Bianca Chatfield, the Melbourne Vixens captain and Australian Netball Players’ Association spokesperson, sees that the new agreement was a big step forwards for the sport, commenting “this has been a journey over many years between the athletes and the sport.
“Whilst we are not yet fully professional, the collaboration and collective will of all parties mean this will not be far away.
“Our ambition throughout this whole process has been to achieve that perfect balance between semi-professionalism, with the best possible conditions for our athletes.
“The athletes are excited that netball has committed to invest a greater proportion of its revenue than any other sport (male or female) into its athletes, truly recognising their contribution to growing the game.”
The name of the new league remains unknown, as does the identity of a sponsor to replace the trans-Tasman competition naming rights sponsor ANZ.
7th September 2016 - NETBALL AUSTRALIA ENDS LONGSTANDING PARTNERSHIP WITH ANZ
15th June 2016 - EIGHT TEAMS TO CONTEST INAUGURAL AFL WOMEN’S COMPETITION
24th June 2015 - WOMEN’S SPORT IS A SERIOUSLY UNTAPPED MARKET
11th March 2015 - MORE WOMEN PLAYING AND WATCHING SPORT, BUT PAY GAP REMAINS
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