Pay equity: BCCI announces equal match fee for its men and women cricketers

Not just India, New Zealand Cricket, earlier this year, had struck a deal with the country's players' association, which enabled the women cricketers to earn as much as the male players.
The Indian women's cricket team. (Photo | Jay Shah Twitter)
The Indian women's cricket team. (Photo | Jay Shah Twitter)

NEW DELHI: In a landmark decision, the BCCI on Thursday announced equal match fee for its centrally-contracted female and male players in a bid to promote gender equality in the country's most popular sport.

As per the newly introduced system, the Indian women's cricketers will now receive Rs 15 lakh per Test, Rs 6 lakh per ODI, and Rs 3 lakh per T20I, the same as their male counterparts.

Earlier, the women players received Rs one lakh each for ODIs and T20Is while the match fee for a Test match was Rs four lakh.

The decision was taken at the BCCI Apex Council emergent meeting.

BCCI President Roger Binny said, "This decision sets the platform to grow and develop cricket. I believe this is a significant step forward for women's cricket and the game overall."

BCCI secretary Jay Shah said pay equity is an important step towards tackling discrimination.

"This is a landmark decision as we enter a new era in India Cricket. I would like to thank my colleagues in the BCCI Apex Council," he said.

Earlier this year, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) had struck a deal with the country's players' association, which enabled the women cricketers to earn as much as the male players, while Cricket Australia (CA) is also working to do away with gender disparity.

India thus became only the second country in international cricket to implement equal pay.

In the last two years, which included the shutdown brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the India men's team has played as many as 21 Tests while in the same period, the women's side has featured in only two one-off Tests on the tour England and Australia respectively.

The announcement comes days after IPL chairman Arun Dhumal, who served as the board's treasurer in the last dispensation, said the BCCI treasury has increased by nearly Rs 6000 crore in the last three years.

In his note to the members at the last Annual General Meeting (AGM), Dhumal mentioned that when the last team took charge of the Board from the CoA in 2019, the BCCI's coffers had funds of Rs 3648 crores.

"We are handing over an organisation that sits over a treasury of Rs 9629 crores of funds, which is roughly thrice of what we got at the time of our taking over from CoA," Dhumal wrote in his note as the outgoing treasurer.

"This is remarkable in the light of the fact that the disbursement to the state associations has seen a jump of nearly 5 times; from Rs 680 crores during the CoA tenure to Rs 3295 crores now to the state associations," Dhumal added.

On expected lines, the decision was welcomed by the cricket fraternity.

"It's a historic move. It's a new dawn for women's cricket. Things were already moving ahead. WIPL together with pay equity policy are steps to get women's cricket to where men's cricket is today," the legendary Mithali Raj told PTI when called for her reaction.

"As a member of the women's cricket fraternity I thank the BCCI and honorary secretary Jay Shah for this announcement. We are already witnessing the growth and popularity of women's cricket from 2017 till now. It's a great move in the right direction."

Outgoing Apex Council member and former India player Shantha Rangaswamy, who attended the meeting, said, "This is a revolutionary decision by the BCCI. The decision shows that India treats its women equally and there is no gender discrimination. Would like to thank Jay Shah, Roger Binny and Rajeev Shukla for taking this momentous decision."

Former India player Harbhajan Singh also hailed the BCCI's decision to bring parity in the match fee.

"BCCI has set a standard for other sports bodies. It will encourage greater participation of women in the game. A historic milestone indeed!" the spin great wrote on Twitter.

Recently, the Indian women's cricket team triumphed in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh, beating Sri Lanka by eight wickets.

The team also won the country's first-ever silver medal in cricket at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham earlier this year.

In the last Annual General Meeting (AGM) of BCCI, the cricket board also announced the first-ever women's IPL that is scheduled to take place next year.

Terming it a major victory for women cricketers across the nation, the Chairperson, NCW, Rekha Sharma said in the statement that this is a historic decision for women's cricket in India. She also said that at last the voice of women cricketers was now being heard.

"Women cricketers earning the same match fee as their male counterparts heralds a new era of equal opportunities and is a significant advancement toward achieving gender equality. Additionally, it will also encourage greater participation of women in sports," the statement from the NCW said.

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