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Pay disparity in The Hundred: Male umpires earn over three times more than female umpires

Following the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) recent decision to increase match fees for England’s women’s players to the current level of men’s match fees for white-ball cricket and Tests, it’s been reported that umpires officiating the men’s Hundred this year received more than three times the amount received by umpires officiating the women’s Hundred.

The Hundred is a high-profile tournament run by the ECB, established in 2021. It features eight teams from different areas of England and Wales each with a women’s and a men’s squad. The ECB owns the teams and pays the players for the tournament.

In this summer’s edition of the Hundred, umpires of women’s matches received between £300 - £1,000 depending on the stage of the tournament, with the fees for the men’s matches ranging from £1,000 – £2,500. In the rest of the domestic and the international women’s game, umpire’s match fees can be as little as £80 per match, with low levels of pay and short-term retainers drawing criticism. The ECB suggests it is currently working to encourage women into umpiring, but with such a pay gap and a lack of women umpires in the men’s elite game, there are concerns about how this can be achieved. There have also been concerns about the high levels of pay disparity between men’s and women’s players, including in terms of players’ pay for the Hundred. The ECB has called for more external investment in the women’s game, such as from broadcasters and sponsors.

Governing bodies and clubs across sport put themselves at risk where there is significant pay disparity in the game. Where a person is an employee, they must receive equal pay for work of equal value. Even where a person would not be an employee for legal purposes (as may be the case for umpires), there are reputational and cultural risks involved with a lack of proper consideration given to women’s salaries and investment in the women’s game. This means that when reviewing pay and treatment structures, governing bodies and clubs should think not only about players’ salaries but the wider framework, including staff and match officials. In analysing pay structures, governing bodies and clubs should ensure that any unequal pay is properly justified in financial terms (for example, due to different levels of work or differing sponsorship and broadcasting deals) as well as considering both reputational damage caused by pay disparity and its potential impact on the future growth of the sport.

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Our sports sector team recently wrote about equal pay in football. The in-depth article analyses what equal pay disputes can arise, what a claim might look like, and how claims can be avoided.

Umpires were paid three times more to officiate in the men’s Hundred this summer than in the women’s Hundred, the Guardian can reveal.

On-field and TV umpires in the women’s Hundred were paid a fee of £300 to officiate in each group‑stage match, while those tasked with officiating in men’s group fixtures were paid £1,000 a game. For the women’s final, umpires received £1,000; yet in the men’s the fee was £2,500.

The news comes just days after the England and Wales Cricket Board announced the England women’s team would receive the same match fees in internationals as the England men. However, there is no evidence that any similar move is afoot within umpiring.”