The Atlanta United manager has given his frank opinion on the US Women’s National Team’s fight for equal pay.
In an interview with The Guardian, Frank De Boer called the concept of equal pay between men’s and women’s teams “ridiculous,” saying that women don’t deserve to be paid the same as men because they don’t “deserve” it based on viewership.
“I think for me, it’s ridiculous,” De Boer said in the interview. “It’s the same like tennis. If there are watching, for the World Cup final, 500 million people or something like that, and 100 million for a women’s final, that’s a difference. So it’s not the same. And of course they have to be paid what they deserve and not less, just what they really deserve. If it’s just as popular as the men, they will get it, because the income and the advertising will go into that. But it’s not like that, so why do they have to earn the same? I think it’s ridiculous. I don’t understand that.”
In the United States, the women sued the national association in March for gender discrimination due to pay and investment differentials. De Boer says that while equal pay should exist throughout society, women should make the same only when – according to him – it’s earned.
“I think it started because a woman [was] getting underpaid, especially at [managerial] positions,” he said. “They have to earn the same as a man. I think if you have a manager position for a bank or something, you have to earn the same what the men did because it’s not physically, just only here [points to head], so why do you have to earn less, because you’re doing the same job as a man? I think that’s also dropped a little bit into the sports world, like tennis and soccer. But I think that’s still different.”
In de Boer’s home country of the Netherlands, where the women reached the final of the Women’s World Cup this past summer, the national association agreed to a new contract where the women will receive yearly raises for the next five years until their pay reaches the same level as the men.
In the U.S., the Women’s World Cup final featuring the USWNT drew 22% more viewers than the 2018 World Cup final between France and Croatia. The WWC final was the most-watched soccer match in the country since the 2015 Women’s World Cup final. Women on the U.S. National Team could earn a maximum of about $261,000, while a male player on the World Cup squad can earn about $1,115,000.