Lineker: I can’t jus­tify salary over a real job such as nurse

Daily Mirror - - NEWS - BY MARK JEF­FERIES Show­biz Ed­i­tor

MATCH of the Day star Gary Lineker has ad­mit­ted he “can’t jus­tify” his BBC salary in com­par­i­son to real jobs, as he urged firms to close the gen­der pay gap.

In 2017 it was re­vealed Lineker rakes in up to £1.79mil­lion a year as the Beeb’s best paid TV host.

Asked if it both­ered him view­ers knowing his pay, he said: “I don’t mind. If you are in the en­ter­tain­ment busi­ness, mu­sic or play sport or are an ac­tor, if you are in that world and you are at the top, you will be re­mu­ner­ated very well. That is how it works.

“Am I go­ing to sit here and try to jus­tify my salary over some­one that does a real job like a nurse? No. But that is how it is.

“I’ve done well in my busi­ness. I’m the only foot­ball broad­caster that has had a ca­reer in foot­ball as well.”

Re­fer­ring to fe­male col­leagues who are less well paid, he added: “Peo­ple talk about the gen­der pay gap, I had no idea, no idea. Now I know what women earn I think they should be paid more, of course.

“And there should be bet­ter bal­ances over ev­ery walk of life. It is not just the BBC, it’s ev­ery­where. We want that to be lev­elled.”

Lineker, 57, also de­fended the de­ci­sion to hold the World Cup in Rus­sia de­spite the coun­try hav­ing a his­tory of ho­mo­pho­bia and other issues.

He said: “I don’t think we can pick and choose on peo­ple’s ide­olo­gies. You could level a lot of those com­plaints at our coun­try. Let’s not be too preachy.

“I think the World Cup will be great.

“It is al­ways the same – all you ever look for­ward to is the neg­a­tiv­ity. Ac­tu­ally, it could bring so much good. The vast ma­jor­ity of Rus­sians are de­cent peo­ple. I went there for the World Cup draw – they were so warm and so ex­cited and so wel­com­ing.

“There are mixed cul­tures and di­ver­sity, gay peo­ple, peo­ple of dif­fer­ent colour. They are all com­ing into Rus­sia at the same time and it might do a mas­sive amount of good for that par­tic­u­lar area.”

Lineker, who sees Spain as tour­na­ment favourites, was speak­ing as he pre­pared to fly out to Rus­sia to host the BBC’s World Cup cov­er­age next month.

On Eng­land’s chances, he said: “We’re go­ing through a tran­si­tional stage. We’ve got a plethora of re­ally top-class young tal­ent but it is a bit early for them.

“If we won a knock­out game… that would be seen as per­fectly ac­cept­able. If you said now we got to a quar­ter-fi­nal, I’d say that is very re­spectable.”

Gary Lineker hosts BBC1’s FA Cup Fi­nal cov­er­age to­mor­row from 4.10pm. World Cup starts on June 14. BAL­ANCE Gary Lineker

Women should be paid more, we want that to be lev­elled

GARY LINEKER ON THE GEN­DER PAY GAP

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