The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said it will increase investment, introduce a three-tiered competition and adopt a new ownership model as part of efforts to help women’s professional cricket reach its full potential.
The plans will see the existing eight women’s regional teams become ‘Tier 1 clubs’, each being under the ownership, governance and operation of a specific First Class County (FCC) or the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).
The clubs will compete in the top level of an expanded women’s domestic structure from the 2025 season, the ECB said.
ECB Chief Executive Officer Richard Gould said in a statement, opens new tab that while the professionalism of the women’s game had seen significant progress they were still only “scratching the surface” of its potential.
“To continue moving forward, and to make cricket a gender-balanced sport, we need a change in the ownership model and governance structure underpinning the women’s professional game.”
The shift in the ownership model would “elevate the status of women’s domestic cricket to enable it to go further, grow faster and reach its full potential,” he added.
The governing body also said it would invest an extra 4 million to 5 million pounds per year in women’s professional cricket from 2025 to 2028, bring its annual investment to 16 million pounds ($20 million).