Women’s Sport: Catherine Spencer calls for the introduction of prize money in the Women’s Six Nations as a mark of respect

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Same format, same schedule, even same length matches, the Women’s Six Nations is just like the men’s in every respect, so why should the winners not be rewarded in the same way?

Whilst the prize pool for the men’s tournament has risen to a record high this year, with teams set to take home £16 million between them, no women’s side will receive anything. 

The women’s tournament is yet to find a title sponsor, which explains this lack of prize money, but surely it is time for brands to step up?

Former England rugby captain Catherine Spencer echoes this belief. She feels prize money is not essential purely for financial gain, but rather to enhance the development and professionalism of the women’s game.

“I’m not sure how I feel about people being paid to play for their country, that’s part of a wider debate,” she said. “ But to reflect the development of the women’s game there should be some prize money, although, before that, we really need a title sponsor.” 

That being said, Spencer is not surprised at the lack of money in the women’s game. She was once told to bring £50 to contribute towards the cost of her flight when England played France away, which serves to highlight the amateurism of women’s rugby.

This is not to say that the prize money should necessarily be equal at this stage, but that if brands fail to support the women’s game in the first place, there will never be the opportunity to improve facilities, market the game more and thus challenge for a level playing field.

Like the men, England women face up against Scotland this Sunday. There may not be the same financial incentives heading into each respective fixture, but whether sponsored or not, whether appreciated or not, the women’s side will put it all on the line, on their quest to achieve back-to-back Grand-Slams.

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