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England's women cricketers awarded match fee parity with men

England women's captain Heather Knight
England women's captain Heather Knight
©AFP

England's women cricketers will be paid the same match fees as their male counterparts, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Wednesday.

The pay increase, which follows similar moves in New Zealand and India, will take effect immediately, beginning with the Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka, which starts on Thursday.

The change was recommended by the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket report in June, which said "women receive an embarrassingly small amount compared to men".

The report said match fees for the England women's team were a quarter of those paid to the men's team for white-ball games while the figure was just 15 percent for Tests.

ECB chief executive officer Richard Gould said the recent "thrilling" Ashes series against Australia, watched by record-breaking crowds, showed the growing popularity of the women's game.

"We all want cricket to be the team sport of choice for female athletes and -- with the investments we are making and increasingly lucrative opportunities around the world -- we are seeing cricketers become some of the highest-earning female athletes in UK team sports," he said.

"However, we know there is still much further to go as we ultimately strive for equality across the game."

Australia retained the Ashes after the multi-format series ended in a draw.

England captain Heather Knight described the equalising of match fees as "fantastic to see".

"The direction of travel for the women's game has always been the most important thing, creating a sustainable product that people want to watch and play and I'm sure this will make cricket an increasingly attractive sport to girls and young women as we continue to grow the game," she added.