ICC ponders separating women’s media rights after World T20 success

DUBAI - The International Cricket Council (ICC) is considering separating media and broadcasting rights of the women’s events following the success of the Women’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia earlier this year. The governing body shared impressive television broadcast, digital audience and attendance numbers from the tournament on Thursday, which it said have set “new benchmarks”. It was the second tournament to take place as a standalone event after the first five editions were held concurrently with the men’s World T20. “All of our data points over the last three years have shown us that fans are interested in women’s cricket,” ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said in a statement reflecting on the numbers. “There is an audience for women’s cricket out there and rights holders along with broadcasters and brands are starting to realise that. “There is a clear opportunity here for the sport and we are currently exploring various options to optimise value generation including the unbundling of women’s rights.” According to ICC estimates, 70% of the game’s billion-plus fans want to see more women’s cricket, which resulted in 1.1 billion video views for the tournament in Australia. “We want to build a long-term sustainable foundation for the game and commercialisation is a central plank of that which is why we are exploring the unbundling of rights,” Sawhney said. Sawhney found inspiration from the American and her compatriots who began their campaign for equal prize money in tennis 50 years ago. “Look at Billie Jean King and the Original Nine, their first contract was for $1 but it was a leap of faith that drove transformational change. Doing what we’ve always done will not achieve that. “As broadcasters and brands start to invest specifically in women’s sport then promotional budgets will follow,” Sawhney said. “This thirdparty promotion combined with the reinvestment of income will help our aspiration to accelerate the growth of the game.”



Premier League to push for wage cut, gives £125m to lower leagues

London - Premier League clubs will consult with their players over a 30% reduction in wages and have voted to provide 125 million pounds to Football League and National League teams to help with cash flow problems caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The League said in a statement on Friday that its clubs “unanimously agreed to consult their players regarding a combination of conditional reductions and deferrals amounting to 30 percent of total annual remuneration”.

The Premier League also said it was “committing 20 million pounds to support the NHS (National Health Service), communities, families and vulnerable groups during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This includes a direct financial contribution to the NHS and funds to enable clubs to refocus their efforts and develop significant outreach programmes to help communities, including those most in need.”

The Premier League also said play would not resume, as once hoped, at the beginning of May and that the 2019-20 season will only return when it is “safe and appropriate to do so”.

The league has been in talks with the players’ union, the PFA, about wage reductions and deferrals but there was no immediate sign of a deal.

Less than 24 hours after Health Minister Matt Hancock said players should take a pay cut and “play their part” in the national effort to tackle the pandemic, two moves also emerged from the players themselves.

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire asked his team mates to donate 30% of their salaries to local hospitals and was given backing by the squad.

England defender Maguire was among the 20 Premier League captains who took part in a call on Thursday evening to discuss a collective response and donation with plans now expected to be developed.

The Football League (EFL) which consists of the 72 professional clubs in the three divisions below the Premier League, said the cash they would receive from the top flight includes solidarity payments, parachute payments and Academy Grants.