England rugby women pay deal ‘a revolution’, says coach Simon Middleton From the section Rugby Union Share this page

The decision to give England women’s team match fees for individual games for the first time has been hailed as a “revolution” by coach Simon Middleton.

In July, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) was criticised after it announced it would not be renewing central contracts for the 15-a-side squad.

But on Thursday the RFU said the 35-strong Elite Player Squad would receive an annual fee and a match fee.

“It’s a step towards professionalism in the women’s game,” said Middleton.  More

Sportswoman of the Year 2017: Speed skater Elise Christie wins award

Speed skater Elise Christie has been named Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year.

The 27-year-old Scot, who became a triple world champion in March, said: “It feels amazing. I feel like I’ve won the World Championships again.”

Tennis player Johanna Konta finished second and taekwondo fighter Bianca Walkden third.

The England women’s cricket team were named team of the year after winning the World Cup in July.  More

Clive Sullivan: The man who broke rugby’s racial barrier

It is 45 years since Clive Sullivan led the nation to Rugby League World Cup victory. On the day the 2017 tournament kicks off, BBC News looks at how the first black player to captain a national British sporting team helped break down barriers.

When the 18-year-old Welsh winger joined Hull FC in 1961, there were very few black men in prominent sporting positions.

But scoring a hat-trick in a trial game with the team certainly put Sullivan on the map and he signed a contract the following day.

So began a career that 11 years later, in 1972, would see him raise the Rugby League World Cup trophy as Great Britain captain – the last occasion the trophy was won by any nation other than Australia or New Zealand.  More

100 Women: Do the Olympics have a gender gap?

There were no women athletes at the first modern Olympic Games, in 1896, because its founder, Pierre de Coubertin, thought women were “not cut out to sustain certain shocks”.

More than 100 years later, Reality Check finds that women’s participation in the Summer Olympics has grown, but across the Olympic movement, the gender gap still exists.

Enshrined in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) charter is the commitment to “encourage and support the promotion of women in sport at all levels”.

This would suggest the IOC no longer thinks along the lines of Pierre de Coubertin. But let’s take a closer look – starting with the sportswomen who participate.  More