ATLANTA, Ga. (WTOC) - Atlanta United coach Frank de Boer is facing backlash after comments about the equal pay dispute in women’s international soccer.
In an interview with The Guardian, de Boer states that discrepancies in worldwide television ratings and advertising dollars makes a difference between the men’s and women’s game. In the article, it appears he has been asked about his native Netherlands, where there is a pledge to raise women’s pay to make it even with men by the next Women’s World Cup.
Here is an excerpt from The Guardian article:
"I think for me, it's ridiculous," De Boer says of the policy. "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 to [earn] 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."
De Boer believes the move is a reaction to wider problems in society, where he does believe in equal pay. “I think it started because a woman [was] getting underpaid, especially at [managerial] positions,” he says. “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.”
Atlanta United President Darren Eales made an appearance on Atlanta radio Tuesday afternoon after the report with de Boer’s comments was released by The Guardian.
On 92.9 The Game, Eales stated that these comments were de Boer’s individual opinion and that they do not reflect the position held by the club.
Eales also highlighted the fact that English is not de Boer’s first language, but he did deem de Boer’s phrasing as “unwise.”
[Information from The Guardian and Dirty South Soccer was used in this report.]