Imagine, you are a footballer in the Australian professional league A-League. Then, according to the Global Sports Salaries study 2018, you will get an average annual salary of 113,000 euros. If you are a top star like Keisuke Honda of Melbourne Victory, you will earn an estimated 1.8 million Euros per season.

Now imagine, you are a footballer in the Australian professional league W-League. Then you earn an average of 11,000 euros a year, according to the study. If you are a top player like Rachel Hill of Perth Glory, then about 82,000 euros. 1.8 million euros compared to 82,000 for the stars, 113,000 euros compared to 11,000 on average. That's the gender pay gap in Australian sports - and not just there.

The figures are based on a report by the organization Male Champions of Change (MCC). MCC was founded by former Australian gender discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick. In it, male executives set the goal of closing the so-called "gender pay gap". The report describes a "Pathway of Pay Equality", a path to equal pay in 15 steps.

Getty Images

Preparing for a game in the Australian professional league W-League between Brisbane Roar and Canberra United

This has now signed the bosses of the largest sports associations in Australia - including cricket, golf, tennis, rugby and football. It is probably the world's largest cooperation for equal pay in sport. "Equal pay, the most visible manifestation of a genuine commitment to equality, is still unattainable for elite athletes in many sports today," says initiator Broderick.

"Gender Pay Gap" is extremely pronounced in German football

Now, wage inequality is not an exclusive problem of sport. According to the Federal Statistical Office, women in Germany earned about one fifth (21 percent) in 2017 less than their male counterparts. But in sport the gradient is particularly pronounced.

If the men's football national team had won the European title in 2016, the players would each have collected a bonus of 300,000 euros from the German Football Association (DFB). The women's national team, however, would have received only 37,500 euros per player from the DFB for an EM success in 2017 - one-eighth of the men's premium.

The "gender pay gap" for premiums is thus four times higher than in the rest of German society (87.5 to 21 percent). And that does not concern professional clubs, whose aim must be to generate profits, but the DFB - a non-profit association.

A SPIEGEL ONLINE inquiry to DFB President Reinhard Grindel, whether the association plans to reduce for the upcoming European Championship tournaments (men 2020, women 2021) the inequality in the premiums, the DFB left unanswered. Instead, he sent a quote from the new national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg: "You have to look at the market value in this respect, we just do not generate the money like the men. I also refuse to see it all negative. We take steps that are realistic and good. And as a women's national team we have excellent conditions at the DFB. "

In Norway is actively redistributed

Since 2018, the Norwegian Football Association (NFF) shows that it is possible to act differently as a non-profit association for the fees for appearances in its national teams: women and men have since received the same budget, six million crowns (615,000 euros). For this, the men withdraw 550,000 crowns of their advertising revenue to the women. It is actively redistributed.

At the DFB, they point out that such cross-subsidization within a federation is tax-difficult. On the other hand, the basic agreement also allows the DFB to pay "far-reaching support services to the amateur associations", as stated in a DFB FAQ on the Basic Treaty. They were last raised by the DFB leadership to Grindel even from five to eight million euros.

A self-fulfilling prophecy

There is also a special wage discrepancy in the German league operation: While an average salary in the women's league in the 2017/2018 season should have been estimated at 38,500 euros according to various sources, a Bundesliga professional earns among men according to the Global Sports Salaries study currently an average of 47,500 euros - but per game.

One reason for the breadth of the gender pay gap is the reduced TV presence of women's sports. This results in lower TV revenues and sponsorship. In 2014, a study by the Tucker Center for Research in Girls and Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota showed that only 4 percent of US coverage covers women's sports, although 40 percent of all athletes are female (click here for a video on study results ).

Critics of equal pay aspirations claim that women earn less in sports because women's sport is less popular. That's why he gets less TV time and generates less revenue. Similarly, the DFB argues: One must "consider the context of marketing situation Marketing, sponsorship and TV marketing work in men's football in other spheres, not only in comparison to women's football, but in total to all other sports in Germany," says the association ,

The counterarguments are this: It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Spectators will hardly be enthusiastic about women's sports as long as less is reported about them. And the TV stations justify the low proportion of women's sports with the fact that this does not appeal to enough spectators.

The basketball player who got into the US sport

In the US, the gender pay gap in sport is a matter of controversy. The basketball player A'ja Wilson sparked a debate in the summer of 2018 when she ironically commented on the move of male superstar LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers and his $ 154 million paycheck for four years: "Must be nice," tweeted Wilson.

154M ........... must. be. nice. Let's get back to my lane pic.twitter.com/IFDZLlI53z

- A'ja Wilson (@ _ajawilson22) 2 July 2018

The 22-year-old plays in the Las Vegas Aces in the professional league WNBA. There she earned only $ 52,000 in 2018 - a year, not a month. For her comment Wilson was hostile. She does not understand the mechanisms of commercial sport. It was Wilson never equal pay, but the same treatment.

Economist and sports statistics expert David Berri has pointed out in the magazine "Forbes" that NBA players are collecting around half of the total revenue of the league due to collective bargaining agreements with the players' union. By contrast, the share that basketball women in the WNBA receive from the pot they earn is just over 20 percent.

DPA

Hope Solo, 2016

US women footballers point the way

There are other examples from the US sport: In 2016, five players of the national football team around goalkeeper Hope Solo filed a complaint with the US Equality Authority, because they were the United States Association despite greater success than the men's team 45 percent less for a victory (total $ 5950 for women versus $ 13,166 for men).

How much less are women soccer players paid? https://t.co/Abz6RoqZ5p pic.twitter.com/RsbAjLICVH

- NYT Graphics (@nytgraphics) March 31, 2016

There was also support from the men's team: "They have a fight to fight and they should do that," said national goalkeeper Tim Howard. In 2017, the US players negotiated with the Football Association a new contract, which equates them with the men.

Since then, women footballers in the USA have become role models for other athletes. WNBA players have asked her for advice. In 2017, the women's ice hockey national team also encouraged the successes of women's footballers and gained better support from their association.

Although they received like the men until then an expense allowance of 6000 US dollars in an Olympic year (in between nothing), but the men also had millions of contracts in the professional hockey league NHL. Today there are $ 70,000 a year for the national team.

These are examples of how athletes rebel against the "gender pay gap" in sports, and how associations finally give in. Some pay equal premiums today, others even pay extra to respond to women's lower incomes. The DFB does not do both.

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