Former Ajax manager, and current MLS Atlanta United manager, Frank de Boer has come out against equal pay for men and women in football, claiming that women do not bring in as much revenue and therefore should be paid less than their male counterparts.
“I think for me, it’s ridiculous,” de Boer told the Guardian. He goes on to say, “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.”
President of Atlanta United, Darren Eales has called de Boer’s comments “poor and misguided” with de Boer himself issuing a follow up statement saying, “I do believe when it comes to the economics of the game, as popularity keeps increasing it will lead to increased revenue and higher salaries in the women’s game, which is fantastic and what we all want to see. I am proud to be a part of a club that embraces equality, and I apologize for any distraction this has become for our team and organization.”
The conversation around equal pay in football has heated up since the US women’s team successful 2019 Women’s World Cup performance (where they defeated the Netherlands in the final 2-0), where the match saw 22% increase in viewers in the US than the 2018 men’s final.
Frank de Boer took over managerial reigns of Atlanta United in December 2018. He played on the Dutch men’s national team in the 1994 and 1998 World Cup’s and managed Ajax from 2010 to 2016.