news 4 days ago

MLS coach Frank de Boer calls equal pay for men's, women's soccer 'ridiculous'

Sporting News — (Alexis Mansanarez)

An MLS coach has weighed in on the fight for equal pay spearheaded by the United States women's national team.

Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer said he does not believe in equal pay for men and women in soccer, or even any other sport like tennis, because women don't bring in as much revenue to warrant it.

"I think for me, it's ridiculous," de Boer told The Guardian. "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, who took over as manager for the defending MLS champions in December 2018 after serving as the Ajax coach, disagrees with the gender pay gap in the workplace.

However, he says the gap is still warranted in sports.

"I think it started because a woman (was) getting underpaid, especially at (managerial) positions," he added. "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."

Megan Rapinoe has been one of the most vocal athletes against the pay disparity and even used her platform after the USWNT won the 2019 World Cup, which brought in record-breaking numbers for some broadcasts during its victory and viewership that beat last year's men's World Cup final by more than 20%.

"Everyone's asking what's next and what we want to come (of) all of this — it's to stop having the conversation about equal pay and are we worth it," Rapinoe said. "This game has done so much for all of us, we've put so much into it. I think it's a testament to the quality on the field.

"I don't think everything else is matching that. How we do get everything to match up and push this forward because I think at this point the argument that we have been having is totally null and void."