Sports minister calls for level playing field for female footballers


Sports minister Bruno Bruins says he wants to talk to the Dutch football association KNVB about closing the pay gap in professional football.

Bruins’s party, the Christian Democrats (CDA), says it is unacceptable that female players earn around 10% of the wages of their male counterparts. Experts say the average wage in the Eredivisie is €22,000 a month compared to between €700 and €2,300 for the top women players.

In an interview with The Guardian at the weekend, Dutch women’s team star Vivianne Miedema called for the KNVB to pay equal fees to players who are called up for the men’s and women’s national teams.

The Arsenal striker pointed out that the women’s team won the European championships last summer whereas the men have failed to qualify for the last two international tournaments, yet are still paid more.

Bruins said it was not up to the government to dictate how much sportsmen and women are paid, but it was legitimate to raise the issue. ‘That is the light in which my talks with the football association should be viewed,’ he said.

The Leeuwinnen are not the only women’s football team to complain about being underpaid. Last month the Danish team refused to play a World Cup qualifying match against Sweden during a dispute with their governing body over pay and conditions.