National Netball Players Receive Boost from Fighting Fund

Julian Miller
By:
Julian Miller
19/10/2023
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Australian cricketers help netball players with fund during pay dispute

Cricketers in Australia have set up a fighting fund to help the netball players in the country during their pay dispute.  

News Insights

  • Cricketers in Australia have set up a pay fund to support netball players
  • Netball players in the country are currently undergoing a pay dispute
  • Netball players are not well compensated despite big public support
  • This fund will help support Netball players

The Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) said on Wednesday that there would be a “fighting fund” to provide support to their netball counterparts. Officials have not confirmed the finer points of the deal, but the support comes amidst a bitter pay dispute in the predominantly women’s sport.

There has been some criticism lobbied at Netball Australia in the last year, mainly for its choice of sponsorship dollars. The organization has the highest women’s participation rate for any sport in the country, with an estimated 1 million players partaking nationwide. 

A recent pay issue came to a head in the last week. Both Netball Australia and the Australian Netball Players Association (ANPA) have been criticizing one another leading up to Australia’s Constellation Cup series, which will be held against rival New Zealand 

Support From Cricketers

The Australian Netball Players Association received a boost of support from Australia’s cricketers. The group is comprised of many of the male players that are currently competing in the Cricket World Cup happening in India. As it turns out, the male cricketers also once engaged in a similar battle. 

They had previously engaged in their own hard-fought battle to keep a revenue-sharing model within their own sport. That pay dispute was with Cricket Australia, the country’s premier cricket organization, back in 2017. They understand what it takes to go through this type of dispute and are offering support. 

It is the major reason why the players are agreeing to pay out of their own pockets to help out the netballers. A statement from Todd Greenberg, chief executive of the Australian Cricketers Association, confirmed the support from the association in the payment battle happening with the ANPA.

Statements From the ACA 

There have been statements from not only Greenberg but Alyssa Healy, the Australia women’s cricket captain. “Much like our female players in 2017, the netballers at the moment are leaning on friends and family for financial support,” Greenberg continued. “What is disappointing is that the netballer’s requests are modest and affordable for the sport. The ACA believes they should be given the same partnership opportunities for as our players – the same opportunities that has seen cricket thrive.” 

Healy, who witnessed the professional passion and enthusiasm of her netball colleagues at an international game a week ago, had this to say: “There were 10,000 watching, sponsors everywhere, the product was amazing, and there was a line for merchandise out the door. Netball’s got to have money, so I refuse to believe it’s a poor sport the way I have watched it unfold. As a female athlete, watching what netball is going through makes me really sad.” 

It further underscores the difficulties that the ANPA has had with Netball Australia. With support from the ACA, there is a strong belief that the two sides can get something done. 

A Big Win for Australian Cricket 

On a more positive front, the Australian women’s cricket team is fresh off of a big series win over West Indians in the one-day and Twenty20 format. Professional players will partake in the domestic Women’s Big Bash T20 league, which starts soon. 

Representing Australia’s netball team while also working in cricket as a player development manager in Perth, Natalie Medhurst offered thanks to the cricketers’ union. 

As a netballer now working in cricket, I am completely blown away by this unprecedented show of support for our cricketers,” she wrote on social media.” 

Chief Executive of the Netball Players Association Kathryn Harby-Williams also gave praise to the netballers, calling them, “brave and resilient people. It lets the netballers know they are not alone.” 

The battle between the ANPA and Australian Netball may have only just begun. With additional support, there is hope on the part of the netball players that a settlement can be reached and “fair” wages can be paid as the sport continues to grow. They need only to look to Australian cricket to see what the possibilities are.