The German Football Association refuses to pay its female players as much as the men

Germany has dominated European women’s football for decades. His national team has won eight out of twelve UEFA Women’s Euro competitions, the largest women’s football tournament in Europe and the second largest in the world after the FIFA World Cup. While the country is poised to dominate again when the Euro 13 tournament begins this week in Manchester, England, the Germans have already lost in another crucial area of ​​the game: equal pay.

In the event of a win, each German player on the women’s team will receive 60,000 euros – a fraction of the 400,000 euros that their male colleagues played for at the men’s European Championship last year.

It’s a disparity that is setting Germans far behind in the evolution of global soccer toward gender parity, which leapt forward in May when the U.S. women’s national soccer team struck a new collective bargaining agreement with US Soccer, the sport’s national governing body, that the same pay cemented the men’s national team. US star Megan Rapinoe, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Thursday for her advocacy for gender equality, LGBTQI+ rights and racial justice, called the breakthrough a win “for gamers everywhere,” and it turned out to be one Turn point beyond the US borders.

In the weeks leading up to the UEFA tournament, Spain announced a five-year agreement providing equal pay and equal travel arrangements for male and female players from its national teams. The Netherlands agreed to pay equal prize money for men and women from 2023. And Credit Suisse, the main sponsor of the Swiss men’s and women’s teams, agreed to pay equal bonuses from this year’s competition. Denmark, Norway, Finland and the UK were ahead of them all and eliminated the pay gap between 2017 and 2020.

Despite mounting pressure, the Germans did not follow. Oliver Bierhoff, managing director of the DFB, refused to introduce an equal pay agreement. The last UEFA women’s tournament in 2017 brought in just €12.6m in revenue compared to the €1.9bn generated by the men at their competition last year. This sort of market-oriented argument does not resonate with critics, who argue that the financial realities are the same for all countries that have agreed to pay wages and believe that national teams have a purpose beyond profit.

“They represent a country,” says Lisa Delpy Neirotti, associate professor of sports management at George Washington University. “Does your country want to be considered unequal?”

While the German women have publicly welcomed their new payout, which would be a record-breaking bonus for their team, they continue to stress the need for level playing field beyond pay, including greater visibility. And while Bierhoff has opened the door for further negotiations, German women still have a long way to go. At a German media convention last week, Thomas Müller, a star of the men’s national team, publicly supported the DFB’s decision, saying wage parity makes sense in the US, where the women’s team reaches more people than the men, which is not the case is the case in Germany.

“In the end,” says Müller, “the customer decides where to go or not.”

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