Sue Redfern Makes History as ICC’s First Female Neutral Umpire for Bilateral Series

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Breaking barriers in cricket officiating, Sue Redfern becomes the inaugural female neutral umpire for a bilateral series. Her historic appointment in the Australia-South Africa clashes marks a significant milestone for women in cricket.

New Delhi, January 17, 2024 – In a historic stride for women’s cricket, Sue Redfern has been appointed as the first female neutral umpire by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for an upcoming bilateral series. Redfern will officiate in the ICC Women’s Championship and T20I fixtures between Australia and South Africa, marking a significant milestone for female match officials in the cricketing world.

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The ICC’s decision to appoint a female neutral umpire for all Women’s Championship series and associated T20I matches reflects a commitment to promoting neutrality while also fostering the long-term development of female umpires. Wasim Khan, the ICC’s General Manager of Cricket, expressed the magnitude of this development, emphasizing the importance of creating opportunities for women umpires.

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Khan stated, “This is a watershed moment for women’s cricket as we look to both implement a female match officials’ pathway programme and accelerate officiating opportunities for our very best performers.” The move is seen as crucial for providing exposure to female umpires in diverse conditions and supporting the learning and development of local female officials.

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The ICC’s commitment extends to prioritizing female officials for neutral umpire roles in Women’s Championship series, with these appointments coming with match-day pay parity and comparable perks to their male counterparts on the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Umpires.

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Sue Redfern, a former England cricketer who has been on the ICC Development Panel of Umpires since 2016, expressed her honor at being named the first official female neutral umpire. Redfern believes this milestone will contribute to the growth of female match officials globally and thanked the ICC and the ECB for their support.

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The selection of female neutral umpires will be based on merit, and the ICC aims to integrate more of them into the Emirates ICC International Panel of Umpires in the future. This move aligns with the ICC’s strategic goal to enhance the involvement and visibility of women in both on-field and off-field roles within the cricketing community.

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Sue Redfern, who played for England in both Tests and ODIs, including World Cups, is confident that her appointment will further boost the momentum gained by female cricket officials in recent years. Redfern is set to officiate in the Australia vs South Africa series, featuring T20I matches in Canberra and Hobart, followed by Women’s Championship ODIs in Adelaide and Sydney. This historic appointment reflects a positive step towards gender inclusivity and recognition in the world of cricket officiating.

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Sue Redfern’s groundbreaking appointment as the first ICC-appointed female neutral umpire for a bilateral series is a momentous occasion for women’s cricket worldwide. Redfern is set to officiate in the upcoming ICC Women’s Championship and T20I clashes between Australia and South Africa, marking a significant leap forward in the inclusivity and recognition of female match officials in the sport.

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The move is part of the ICC’s strategic initiative to establish a female match officials’ pathway program, providing more opportunities for the most accomplished women umpires. Wasim Khan, the ICC’s General Manager of Cricket, highlighted the importance of this development, stating, “This is a watershed moment for women’s cricket.” The decision to appoint a neutral female umpire for all Women’s Championship series and associated T20I matches underscores the commitment to both impartiality and the sustained growth of female umpires.

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Acknowledging the significance of neutral appointments, Khan emphasized the exposure they provide to female umpires in diverse conditions, supporting the learning and development of local female officials. The ICC will prioritize female officials for neutral umpire roles in Women’s Championship series, ensuring they receive match-day pay on par with their male counterparts on the prestigious Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Umpires, along with comparable perks.

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Sue Redfern, who has been a part of the ICC Development Panel of Umpires since 2016, expressed her honor at being chosen as the first official female neutral umpire. Reflecting on the evolving landscape for female officials, Redfern sees her appointment as a catalyst for further development, momentum, and visibility for female officials globally. She thanked the ICC and the ECB for their support over the years.

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The selection of female neutral umpires will be based on merit, with the ICC aiming to integrate more of them into the Emirates ICC International Panel of Umpires in the coming years. This aligns with the overarching strategic ambition of the ICC to enhance the involvement and visibility of women both on and off the field within the cricketing community.

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Redfern’s illustrious cricketing background, having played in multiple Test and ODI matches for England, adds to the significance of her appointment. Her role as a pioneer in the officiating realm is expected to further boost the momentum gained by female cricket officials in recent years.

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The Australia vs South Africa series will witness Redfern’s historic umpiring role in three T20I matches in Canberra and Hobart, followed by Women’s Championship ODIs in Adelaide and Sydney. This momentous step not only adds a new chapter to cricket history but also reinforces the sport’s commitment to gender inclusivity and the elevation of female talent in all aspects of the game.

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