Former tennis champ accuses BBC of pay inequality
Nine times Wimbledon singles winner, Martina Navratilova, has said that the BBC pays fellow former-pro, John McEnroe, 10 times as much as her.
The record-breaking tennis star made the claim in a Panorama interview, to be screened tonight (19 March), for a programme investigating pay inequality across Britain.
Navratilova, who won a total of 56 Grand Slam tennis tournaments and now commentates during Wimbledon fortnight, said: “It was a shock because John McEnroe makes at least £150,000 … I get about £15,000 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 also said that she had been told her pay would be comparable to that of any men doing the same job.
The BBC has defended the pay difference by claiming that the two roles were “not comparable and that McEnroe’s employment was of “a different scale, scope and time commitment”.
A spokeswoman for BBC Sport went on to say: “Along with Sue Barker, John is regarded as the face of our Wimbledon coverage. He is a defining voice within the BBC’s 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 UK broadcaster without our permission. His pay reflects all of this – gender isn’t a factor.”
John McEnroe is estimated to have made 30 appearances for the BBC during last year’s Wimbledon tournament, while Ms Navratilova made 10.
The female tennis champ has said that her agent will be requesting a higher fee in future.