Southgate: Gap in wages is just simple economics
GARETH SouTHGATE has warned the drive for equal pay in the women’s game does not represent economic reality.
The FIFA president Gianni Infantino yesterday set a target of equal prize money for men and women at World Cups by 2027. Earlier this week, meanwhile, players from the women’s Championship club Lewes wrote an open letter calling for equal FA Cup prize money.
But the England manager Southgate, who yesterday picked his squad for this month’s Euro 2024 qualifiers, responded by saying male and female players will not realistically be paid the same until the women’s game can attract more sponsorship or TV money. Southgate said: ‘I think that if men and women are doing the same job and men are being paid more then that’s an aspect that can’t be right.
‘Equally if we are in an economic world where in football there has got to be the funds available to pay, then in order to pay equally the broadcasting figures or sponsorship figures have to tally. So it’s probably an area that people don’t want to speak about but there is an economic reality to that.
‘I have a daughter and if she is in an office and she is doing the same job as the person next to her then I would want her to be paid equally. There is no doubt about that.
‘But there are economic factors between the Premier League and the Championship and across sports at different levels. In our league the broadcast deal is a huge part of why the salaries are what they are and that determines what it’s possible to pay.’
The Women’s World Cup in Australia this summer will see a 300 per cent increase in prize money but the £125million fund is still dwarfed by the £365m shared by the 32 men’s teams in Qatar in December last year.
Infantino wants to close the gap completely and criticised international broadcasters for offering up to 100 times less for the rights to cover the women’s tournament.
The FIFA president said: ‘Women deserve much, much more and we are there to fight for them and with them. TV can offer us 20 per cent less, 50 per cent less. But not 100 per cent less. That’s why we can’t do it.’
Two years ago the Football Association signed a ‘landmark’ multimillion-pound deal with Sky and the BBC for the broadcast rights to the Women’s Super League.
The agreement is believed to be worth about £8m a season and is the biggest broadcast deal of any professional women’s football league in the world. It expires in 2025. By contrast the Premier League currently enjoys a £5billion TV deal in this country with roughly the same amount coming from overseas broadcasters.