ERE

Ene are on the same foot­ing, writes Olivia Cald­well.

Sunday News - - WOMEN IN SPORT -

in­cen­tive of re­mu­ner­a­tion. How­ever, as the pro­fes­sional era hits in­ter­na­tional women’s sports such as cricket, rugby and foot­ball, could our Kiwi women be left be­hind if they don’t also adopt their sports full-time?

Two re­cent ex­am­ples give two very dif­fer­ent an­swers.

The White Ferns trav­elled to the UK ear­lier this year in their bid to win the Women’s Cricket World Cup, they failed mis­er­ably when kicked out of the group stage by In­dia, a na­tion who has been fo­cussing heav­ily on the women’s game and putting more re­sources in to it.

Eng­land, who be­came pro­fes­sional in 2014, were the even­tual win­ners.

In con­trast, the Black Ferns de­liv­ered when they brought home the women’s Rugby World Cup last month, up against a fully pro­fes­sional side, Eng­land, in the fi­nal.

Robin­son be­lieves the Black Ferns’ suc­cess was due to the women’s com­mit­ment and tal­ent, not the ‘‘lim­ited sup­port’’ they had been given by NZ Rugby. ‘‘The rest of the world has caught up to us in rugby as shown by how Eng­land beat us in June [in New Zealand]. They have pro­fes­sional con­tracts, our fif­teens play­ers don’t. The Black Ferns need to have more reg­u­lar test matches, an in­ter­na­tional cal­en­dar. New Zealand will lose more test matches in the fu­ture if we don’t get in­ter­na­tional test rugby go­ing for teams out­side of the Six Na­tions.’’

She be­lieved it was up to NZ Rugby to step in and do some­thing about the pay gap be­tween the men and women’s game.

‘‘Get a com­mer­cial man­ager in NZR that re­ally cares about women’s rugby to sell it. I think we need to se­ri­ously look at set­ting up pro­fes­sional teams. For in­stance, why can’t we have women’s Su­per Rugby sides?’’

Robin­son said the Kiwi men­tal­ity of box­ing above our weight could all come to a crash­ing end if we don’t en­ter the pro­fes­sional era of women’s sport. ‘‘I think we over-achieve in a lot of sports as other coun­tries have higher re­sources than us.’’

IS IT ALLDOWNTO THE MONEY?

Af­ter the Black Ferns re­turned home with the World Cup it didn’t go un­no­ticed that they were part­time play­ers re­ceiv­ing next to noth­ing for their ef­forts.

There was talk of the Black Ferns be­com­ing a paid pro­fes­sional side, how­ever NZ Rugby chief ex­ec­u­tive Steve Tew quickly poured cold wa­ter on that idea.

NZ Rugby said said in 2016 $5.5 mil­lion was in­vested di­rectly into the women’s game, a $2 mil­lion in­crease in fund­ing on 2015.

NZ Rugby said it was un­able to pro­vide Stuff with the amount of money in­vested in the All Blacks or men’s rugby as it was com­mer­cially sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion, but it is safe to PHOTOSPORT as­sume it dwarfs what the women get. The Black Ferns are not the only na­tional side to be faced with a ques­tion over pro­fes­sion­al­ism.

Hockey NZ, Foot­ball NZ, Bas­ket­ball NZ and Cricket NZ all face de­ci­sions on how to dis­trib­ute money be­tween the men and women’s games.

High Per­for­mance New Zealand have a dis­tri­bu­tion list for sport­ing codes and for any sport­ing code to re­ceive fund­ing they must meet the four key cri­te­ria; past per­for­mance, fu­ture po­ten­tial, qual­ity of the pro­gramme and the in­ter­na­tional con­text of the sport.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion has 367 ath­letes sup­ported through their pro­gramme with 53 per cent of those male and 47 per cent fe­male.

While there was a rea­son­ably even spread be­tween men and women’s sports, there were dis­crep­an­cies as the men’s Black Sticks re­ceived a $700,000 in­vest­ment based on the four key cri­te­ria, whereas the women did not.

Bas­ket­ball New Zealand have also reg­u­larly ap­plied for fund­ing for the Tall Ferns through HPNZ with no luck, yet the Tall Blacks this year re­ceived an added $125,000 from HPNZ. Bas­ket­ball NZ in­vests an even $400,000 each to­wards both na­tional teams.

Hockey New Zealand in­vested the same amount to both men and women’s Black Sticks, as did Foot­ball New Zealand.

How­ever, the Foot­ball Ferns re­ceived ex­tra fund­ing from HPNZ.

ene beat Eng­land in a clas­sic fi­nal de­spite be­ing part-time ath­letes.

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