Thursday saw the International Cricket Council (ICC) take a historic leap towards gender parity in sports, with the announcement of equal prize funds for men’s and women’s cricket tournaments, alongside updates to over-rate sanctions in Test cricket. The groundbreaking decision came during the ICC Annual Conference in Durban, South Africa, allowing the ICC Board to reach its goal of prize money equity by 2030 much earlier than anticipated.
Moving forward, teams across the gender divide will now receive matching prize money for the same finishing positions at equivalent events, as well as identical amounts for securing wins at those tournaments.
From the upcoming cycle onwards, the ICC will reward equal prize money to the winning and runner-up men’s and women’s teams in its international competitions.
“This represents a milestone moment in our sport’s narrative,” commented ICC Chair Greg Barclay in a press release. “I am overjoyed that male and female cricketers participating in ICC global events will now receive equivalent rewards. Since 2017, we’ve progressively raised the prize money at women’s events with the ultimate goal of achieving parity. Winning the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup and similar events will now bring the same financial rewards as their male counterparts,” he continued.
Barclay expressed the sentiment that cricket is a sport for all, emphasizing that the ICC Board’s decision underscores this principle and allows the sport to recognize and appreciate every player’s contribution on an equal footing.
The ICC Board also sanctioned the largest-ever financial investment into the sport, following the consensus on the distribution model for the next quadrennial. Every ICC member will benefit from significantly improved funding, with a special investment fund designated to fuel global growth initiatives in accordance with the ICC Global Growth Strategy.
A closer look at the specifics reveals that the champions and runners-up of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 and 2023 secured USD 1 million and USD 500,000, respectively, a five-fold jump from the prize money offered in 2018.
Moreover, the prize pool for the upcoming ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 has seen a substantial increase to USD 3.5 million, up from the previous edition’s USD 2 million purse.
In addition to these developments, the Chief Executives’ Committee greenlighted modifications to Test cricket’s over-rate penalties, seeking a delicate balance between preserving over-rates and providing fair compensation for players. Under the newly instituted rules, which kick off with the current World Test Championship cycle, players will face a 5% fine on their match fee for each under-par over, capping at a 50% maximum penalty.
Intriguingly, if a team gets dismissed before reaching the 80-over mark and the new ball remains undelivered, no over-rate penalty will be enforced, irrespective of any potential delays. This rule replaces the previous 60-over stipulation.
“The ICC World Test Championship has breathed new life into Test cricket, offering a much-needed sense of purpose,” remarked Sourav Ganguly, of the ICC Men’s Cricket Committee. “In the last edition, we only saw 12 draws out of 69 matches, and we’re determined to maintain that trend while giving spectators the most bang for their buck and maintaining high over-rates. While the Committee strongly believes in retaining over-rate penalties in the form of WTC points deductions, we also advocate that players should not face the risk of losing 100 per cent of their match fee. We believe this strikes the right balance between sustaining over-rates and not discouraging players from engaging in Test cricket,” he concluded.