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    PCA advises counties to lead by example in implementing the new women's system
PCA advises counties to lead by example in implementing the new women's system
Southern Vipers are the reigning Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy champions. Source: Getty Images

PCA advises counties to lead by example in implementing the new women's system

The Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) has reminded counties to 'practise what they preach' after the ECB allocated 'Tier 1' teams in England's revamped women's domestic structure.

In the next two weeks, the first-class counties, except for Derbyshire and Worcestershire, will find out if their bids to host teams in the top tier of the new professional structure have been successful. In February, they were invited to tender bids and have been interviewed by the ECB over the past month.

However, some players are worried that counties will not fulfil their promises and have expressed their concerns to the PCA, which is the players' trade union in England and Wales, during their annual pre-season meetings in recent weeks. Daryl Mitchell, the PCA's chief operating officer, told ESPNcricinfo that they would be urging the ECB to ensure that the successful bidders keep their word.

"Hopefully, we'll see them practise what they preach. That's going to be an important part of the next 12 months: actually holding these teams and counties to account. The ECB auditing and policing that is going to be vitally important - and obviously we can play our part in that as well.”

The PCA and ECB have agreed to a minimum squad size of 15 for the new Tier 1 teams. Additionally, they will equalise the minimum wage for female and male cricketers. These commitments will be formalised in the updated version of the County Partnership Agreement (CPA) which will cover 2025-29.

Eight counties will not be successful in their bids to host Tier 1 teams. However, Mitchell encourages them not to give up on investing in women's cricket. The tender process has prompted counties to consider how they can effectively integrate women's cricket into their structures.

The final season of the women's regional structure begins next Saturday. Four matches will be played in the opening round of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy. Some teams have recruited Australian overseas players, such as Thunder who signed Katie Mack and Georgia Voll on Thursday, while Northern Diamonds announced the arrival of Erin Burns earlier in the week.

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