Frank de Boer has backtracked on his equal pay comment after he said it was “ridiculous” the United States women’s national team expect to be paid the same as their male counterparts.
Women’s World Cup winners USA, who beat Netherlands in last month’s final, continue to be embroiled in a battle for equal pay with U.S. Soccer.
Atlanta United coach De Boer said he is a champion of women’s soccer and indicated he regrets his choice of words during an interview with the Guardian.
“I think for me, it’s ridiculous. It’s the same like tennis,” De Boer said to the newspaper. “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 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, however, has now clarified his comments.
“Especially the word ridiculous,” he said. “It’s a hard word if I read that word only. If you see the whole context, I was very clear that I always promote women’s soccer.”
USA star Megan Rapinoe has been one of the most vocal athletes to speak out against the pay disparity, using her platform after USA defended their World Cup title.
Talks between players and governing body U.S. Soccer have broken down, with Rapinoe indicating she will continue fighting for equal pay.
“They’re the only employer that we could have playing for the national team, we’re the only employees that they could have, so for better or for worse we’re tethered together,” she told ABC’s Good Morning America on Thursday.
“I think that if and when and ever they are willing to have a conversation about equal pay that starts there and goes forward, we’re always open to that.”
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