York RLFC are delighted to announce that York Valkyrie have become the first team in the Betfred Women's Super League to sign its players onto professional contracts!
York RLFC and Leeds Rhinos made the historic step to pay its female players from the 2023 season amid the rapid rise in the profile of women's rugby league.
A number of Valkyrie players have now signed professional two-year contracts from the 2024 campaign, breaking new ground in the Betfred Women's Super League, with Captain Sinead Peach, Vice-Captain Tara Jane Stanley and England international Liv Wood becoming the first three to pen deals.
The contracts are made up of base salaries, a range of performance-related bonuses and also include maternity leave support and NRLW player options.
York RLFC Chairman Clint Goodchild expressed his excitement at being able to implement such a move for the Valkyrie.
Goodchild said: "The women's game is becoming more professional every day. I think that this is a big step forward in getting some security for the players and the Clubs and being able to have a transparent approach to contracts and a paid structure.
"I believe that this an important step forward and I'm happy to be part of a special group of people taking that step.
"No one can question the commitment of the players last year, having taken steps to start paying the players. This is a significant step forward from that to where the figures become comparable to some Betfred League One contracts and, in some cases, Betfred Championship contracts.
"I think that it's just a matter of time before we have some full-time women's rugby league players in the next five to 10 years.
"If you look at the growth in rugby league, a lot of that has come off the back of the women's game, having almost 5,000 people here at the LNER Community Stadium for the Betfred Women's Super League Grand Final.
"I think that shows that there's an appetite and a market for a great product and the trend towards women's rugby league and women's sport is really positive and exciting.
"We were pleased to make Sinead, Tara and Liv the first three players to sign professional contracts, two winners of the Woman of Steel and an England international and rising star of the game respectively. Those three deserve all the credit that goes their way as trailblazers of women's rugby league.
"Looking ahead to 2024, hopefully we'll have a lot more double headers with York Knights and York Valkyrie, that's something that we're pushing for with the RFL, so we can continue our journey of being one Club with one goal. Fingers crossed we can make that happen."
Captain Sinead Peach added: "What an exciting day this has been for us. If you told me that this moment would come when I was a little girl, I would have laughed at you!
"To see where women's rugby league has progressed is unbelievable and I'm super excited to sign a contract alongside Tara and Liv.
"What the Club are doing here is immense and the backing that we receive some Clint and everyone else at the Club is amazing.
"Little kids looking up to us can see that this sport is progressing. When I was younger, we were often scrapping around for the team.
"To see where this sport has come now and to now be signing a professional contract it's definitely a pinch-me moment."
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