ECB announces retainers for female players during coronavirus pandemic
Players will receive financial support as well as undertake strength and conditioning training and online courses
Last Updated: 19/05/20 4:54pm
Up to 24 women's domestic cricketers will receive regional retainers from the ECB to support them during the coronavirus pandemic.
Players will be recruited by eight regional hubs, where they will adhere to strength and conditioning programmes and undertake online modules, including anti-corruption and anti-doping education.
The ECB planned to introduce 40 full-time domestic contracts in 2020 in its aim to boost women's cricket but that has been delayed by the pandemic.
The Hundred, in which the women were set to compete in their own tournament running alongside the men's, has been postponed until 2021.
Clare Connor, the ECB's managing director of women's cricket, said: "As the effects of COVID-19 on the rest of the summer and beyond become more apparent, we will continue to support our players to the best of our ability.
"We promise them our drive for a more gender-balanced sport remains vitally important. The momentum behind the women's game has been staggering in the last few years and it is firmly our ambition to build on that.
"This was due to be the most exciting year in the game's history for our leading domestic players. A number of them would have been hoping to sign a full-time contract with one of our eight Regions this summer.
"While we still intend to award those full-time contracts in 2020, we want to try to support our players as much as we can until that point, hence the introduction of these retainers to provide an interim solution.
"As we emerge from this pandemic, we believe even more strongly that cricket will be a sport that throws its arms around everyone - truly inclusive, diverse and a sport for modern Britain to be proud of."
North East - Yorkshire CCC, Durham CCC, Northumberland
North West - Lancashire CCC, Cheshire, Cumbria
West Midlands - West Midlands Women's Cricket Ltd (Warwickshire CCC & Worcestershire CCC), Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire
East Midlands - Loughborough University, Derbyshire CCC, Leicestershire CCC, Nottinghamshire CCC, Lincolnshire
South West & Wales - Western Storm Ltd (Glamorgan CCC, Gloucestershire CCC & Somerset CCC), Cricket Wales, Cornwall, Devon, Wiltshire
South Central - Southern Vipers Ltd (Hampshire Cricket Ltd), Sussex CCC, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Isle of Wight, Oxfordshire
London & South East - Surrey CCC, Kent CCC
London & East - Middlesex CCC, Essex CCC, Northamptonshire CCC, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Norfolk, Suffolk