Martina Navratilova Says BBC Pays John McEnroe 10 Times as Much for Tennis Pundit Role

Credit: Julian Finney / Getty
John McEnroe

The U.K. public broadcaster's gender pay gap dispute is the focus of a new TV documentary.

The BBC's gender pay gap issue has come under fresh scrutiny following claims over the wages of its sports presenters.

Martina Navratilova, the nine-time Wimbledon champion, has said she found that a fellow Wimbledon champion earns at least 10 times what she makes her for punditry work at the U.K. public broadcaster during the tennis competition.

"It was a shock because John McEnroe makes at least £150,000 ($210,000) ... I get about £15,000 ($21,000) for Wimbledon, and unless John McEnroe’s doing a whole bunch of stuff outside of Wimbledon he's getting at least 10 times as much money," she told the BBC's doc series Panorama in an episode entitled "Britain's Equal Pay Scandal" to be broadcast Monday.

Navratilova added that she had been told she was being paid a comparable amount to men who were doing the same job. 

"We were not told the truth, that's for sure," she said. "It's still the good old boys' network ... The bottom line is that male voices are valued more than women's voices."

The BBC defended the difference in pay, claiming that McEnroe's role was of a "different scale, scope and time commitment," to Navratilova, adding that McEnroe was considered "the face" of its Wimbeldon coverage. 

"He is widely considered to be the best expert/commentator in the sport, highly valued by our audiences, and his contract means he cannot work for another U.K. broadcaster without our permission," a representative told the program.

Last summer, the BBC published a list of its top earners, sparking a major gender pay row after it emerged that just a third on the list were women and the top seven were men. The broadcaster later reviewed its pay structure, revealing that men were being paid 9.3 percent more than women. After China editor Carrie Gracie resigned in protest, six male presenters agreed to pay cuts. 

 

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