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Quit cricket or go: dual international given ultimatum by club

Ellys's choice ... give up cricket or stop playing top-grade  football.

Ellys's choice ... give up cricket or stop playing top-grade football. Photo: Getty Images

Could this be the moment that women's sport crosses the threshold from a largely amateur pursuit into professional reality?

Dual international phenomenon Ellyse Perry has so far juggled the demands of representing Australia in both football and cricket - but judgment day may be looming.

Perry's W-League side, Canberra United, yesterday delivered an ultimatum: if Perry wants to stay with the reigning champions, cricket needs to be pushed aside.

Ellyse Perry batting in a Test match against England last year.

Ellyse Perry batting in a Test match against England last year. Photo: Getty Images

''Ellyse needs to choose whether she wants to be a full-time Canberra United player and commit to training every day like everyone else does,'' Canberra United chief executive Heather Reid.

''Or if she still wants to try and mix her cricket commitment with football, then perhaps she will need to find another club.'' That decision appears to have been made, with Perry saying last night that she's been left with little option but to leave.

''I've been very fortunate to be involved with Canberra United for the last three W-League seasons but there's some changes at the club and the coach, Jitka Klimkova, has some different ideas about how the team needs to be run,'' she said.

Ellyse Perry representing Canberra United at the A-League awards in 2011.

Ellyse Perry representing Canberra United at the A-League awards in 2011. Photo: Getty Images

''I fully respect her philosophy, it's certainly her prerogative to change, but mixing my football and cricket commitments doesn't work so well in her framework. It seems I'll have to start looking for a new club.''

Football Federation Australia officials were yesterday privately aghast at Klimkova's ultimatum, which seemed to force Perry into making a choice both sports have been happy to avoid given the respective positive publicity she generates for them.

The alternative is that the 21-year old from Sydney's North Shore plays with Sydney FC or the new western Sydney team, though their respective training demands for next season are yet to be established.

''It's still a long time until the W-League season begins [in November] so I'll weigh it up between now and then,'' Perry said.

''I still want to play both and hopefully I can play for a club that allows me to do that.''

Klimkova's arrival from the Czech Republic has raised Canberra to compete with the league's pre-eminent sides, Brisbane Roar and Sydney FC, but she wants to raise the bar again for the coming season to a daily commitment - even though the players are only paid part-time wages.

Former Socceroo Francis Awaritefe described the club's decision as ''stunningly stupid''.

However, Klimkova's push has drawn the support of outspoken striker Lisa De Vanna, a Matildas teammate of Perry's.

''About time someone lifted the professional standards of women's football. Having [a] name should [not] get you in a team,'' she said on Twitter.

''Players and teams deserve better. Hopefully these standards carry on to the national team and performance becomes all that matters!''

Cricketing authorities are throwing no such obstacles in her path.

''Ellyse is a fantastic role model and we will continue to support her with her ambitions to represent both cricket and football at the highest level possible,'' a Cricket Australia spokesman said.

smh.com.au

176 comments

  • This stance by Canberra United is totally unreasonable.

    Ellyse Perry is an amazing athlete and a terrific young woman whose achievements speak for themselves. The fact that she has the ability to represent in 2 sports is simply amazing and obviously there will be clashes.

    I say Ellyse, find yourself another club ... there are plenty that would fall over themselves to have you.

    And shame on you Canberra United. Get over yourselves for god sake ... you are a largely insignificant Australian W-League club - you are not Manchester United.

    Unbelievable.

    Commenter
    Gary
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    May 29, 2012, 2:39PM
    • Totally agree

      Commenter
      benny
      Date and time
      May 29, 2012, 2:46PM
    • Agree. She is far better off going with another club. CU's loss, another clubs gain.

      Commenter
      Firekai
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 29, 2012, 2:48PM
    • If the W-League were a full-time professional competition, then maybe they could make a bigger claim on Ms Perry's time.

      However, since this is not the case, Ms Klimkova should perhaps get used to the notion that football isn't the only game in town in this country.

      Commenter
      Cap'n Morgan
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 29, 2012, 2:59PM
    • As a parent who has a daughter involved in lots of sports this women has been an inspiration. Women are so under valued in the sporting areana and to have a dual sports person in there midst canberra should be ashamed. her fitness level is beyond dispute and she performs amazingly in both sports when representing her sports. So Canberra united my question is who is doing the bitching and jealous enough to make waves? We should be celebrating this young athlete not tearing her down.
      Find another club that values your worth Ellyse i dont think you will have a problem.
      As a mother i thank you for being the person you are, you took time to signmy daughters cricket bat and soccer ball and she will never forget you

      Commenter
      icwrf70
      Location
      Junee
      Date and time
      May 29, 2012, 3:26PM
    • Find another football club who will value you. This one doesn't care about you Ellyse.

      Commenter
      Seriously
      Date and time
      May 29, 2012, 3:28PM
    • Completely agree if you can't pay her a proper salary you can't dictate terms.

      Commenter
      Skeptical
      Date and time
      May 29, 2012, 3:30PM
    • ...and the fact that she missed the Grand Final last season due to representing cricket for Australia wasn't much of a distraction? Canberra won but could have done it a little easier if she was there. Just because she is talented is not reason enough. Canberra United want her there for the whole season. Why would Canberra invest their time in someone if they are not there on the most important day, the Grand Final. Obviously she has made her choice and it was Cricket that won out. I am pretty sure no footballer in any male sport would be allowed to the same.

      Commenter
      Jezza
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      May 29, 2012, 3:56PM
    • She is welcome at the Victory. Great move Canberra.

      Commenter
      jammo
      Date and time
      May 29, 2012, 4:02PM
    • What they all said!

      Commenter
      Stand Back
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 29, 2012, 4:02PM

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