Thursday 5 June 2014 

No Support For WICL - CA & ECB

Clare Connor & Charlotte Edwards
Clare Connor, left: 'I stress that from an ECB perspective this competition is not on our agenda'
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board have reiterated their support for the ICC International Women's Championship, and distanced themselves from the Women's International Cricket League (WICL).

The WICL is a proposed tournament run along similar lines to other franchise-based leagues such as the Indian and Caribbean Premier Leagues.

However, ECB's Head of Women's Cricket and Chair of the ICC Women's Committee Clare Connor and ECB Chairman Giles Clarke have made their positions clear.

"There has been a lot of misleading and as yet unsubstantiated information around how far advanced the proposed WICL is. I stress that from an ECB perspective this competition is not on our agenda," Connor said.

"The immediate focus for international women's cricket is the ICC International Women's Championship, which the ICC Board approved in January. 

"For the first time ever, the top eight ranked women’s teams in the world will play each other in a bi-lateral competition, with results determining qualification for the 2017 ICC Women's World Cup.  This is a real game changer for the women’s game.

"ICC and its members do not recognise privately owned tournaments or leagues in the men's or women's game. 

"The ICC and the members have made significant investment into women's cricket over the ten years to create a commercially viable product. 

"In particular there is recognition that a Women's World Twenty20 every two years will be the vehicle through which to build commercial investment in the women's game, and it is for the ICC and the members to capitalise on this and take it forward.

"Any Twenty20 tournament that features the best players in the world outside ICC competitions would need to be run and controlled by one of the full members, as opposed to by a private operator."

Clarke added: "Put simply there is no support or interest for this proposed event. Women's cricket has made enormous strides in recent years with great investment in the game from the grassroots to the international level. 

"At the same time, thanks to the ICC global events and member investment, we have seen new and exciting players emerge on the world stage. 

"This has to be the continued route for the women's game, not a privately run competition."

And CA's Executive General Manager of Team Performance Pat Howard put forward a similar view.

"We are working hard to professionalise the women’s game," he said.

"Last year’s restructuring of the contracting system for female international and state cricketers has seen our elite players become some of the best paid female athletes in the country.

"We are continuing to provide our elite players with further opportunities. This includes developing a model for a women’s T20 Big Bash League, which is seen as an important step in further professionalising women’s cricket.

"As a result of these efforts, female cricket participation at the grassroots level is at an all-time high, with a 18% increase from 2012-13 taking us to 180,000 female participants.

"In relation to comments by the Women’s ICL, CA has not endorsed the competition in any way.

"The proposed Women’s International Cricket League has also recently been discussed by the International Cricket Council and its Members, and was not supported.

"However, we are highly committed to developing female cricket at all levels of the game as we work to make it Australia’s favourite sport for women and girls."

© Cricket World 2014