England to pay women players for first time
England’s women rugby league players will be paid for the first time when they compete in the inaugural World Cup Nines in Sydney.
The 16-strong squad will be one of four nations to receive individual participation fees at the tournament from Oct 18-19, which will be equal to those paid to their male counterparts.
The two-day tournament in Australia – where England will face New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea – forms part of the squad’s winter tour. England will then face Papua New Guinea in two Tests on Nov 9 and 16.
While players will not be paid over these two fixtures, all travel, accommodation, subsistence, kit and support staff for both trips will be fully funded by the Rugby Football League. The venture has also received the backing of Sport England to support its women’s pathway as it prepares to host the 2021 World Cup, which will run concurrently with the men’s tournament.
At the World Cup Nines, organisers are offering prize money to the runners-up and the winners of the women’s competition.
The one-off payments are a positive step for England’s players, all of whom are amateur and hold down jobs or study alongside their rugby commitments.
Betfred has extended its sponsorship of league to include the amateur Women’s Super League for the first time for the next two seasons. This month’s super league Grand Final will be the first Women’s Super League fixture to be televised on Sky at the Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens on Oct 11.