Tennis legend Martina Navratilova has hit out at the BBC after discovering that fellow Wimbledon pundit John McEnroe is paid at least 10 times more than her.
McEnroe’s pay packet, of £150,000 to £199,999, was revealed in a list of the BBC’s top-paid talent last summer.
Navratilova, 61, told Panorama that she is paid around £15,000 by the BBC for her commentator role at Wimbledon.
“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 said.
Navratilova said that she was told she was getting paid a comparable amount to men doing the same job as her, adding: “We were not told the truth, that’s for sure...
“(I’m) not happy... It’s shocking... It’s still the good old boys network.... The bottom line is that male voices are valued more than women’s voices.”
Navratilova said her agent will ask for more money in future.
BBC Sport told Panorama that “John and Martina perform different roles in the team, and John’s role is of a different scale, scope and time commitment,” adding: “They are simply not comparable. John’s pay reflects all of this, gender isn’t a factor.”
Panorama said it estimated that McEnroe, 59, who was crowned Wimbledon champion three times, appeared around 30 times for the BBC at Wimbledon last year, compared to Navratilova’s 10 appearances.
A BBC spokeswoman said McEnroe, along with Sue Barker, “is regarded as the face of our Wimbledon coverage” and “widely considered to be the best expert/commentator in the sport”.
The broadcaster said in a statement: “John and Martina perform different roles in the team, and John’s role is of a different scale, scope and time commitment. They are simply not comparable.
“Martina is one of a number of occasional contributors who is contracted to carry out a fixed volume of work and paid per appearance. At Wimbledon 2017 her work amounted to three live match commentaries, four highlights appearances, one short video and two other short studio appearances. Beyond this she has no contractual commitment to the BBC.
“Our contract with John is entirely different. John is contracted to be on call for the BBC across the entire 13 days of the tournament, subject to a commitment with one US broadcaster, and is on air every day. He worked on live match commentaries on 12 of the 13 days along with highlights programmes, opening links, regular studio pieces with Sue Barker, studio analysis, filmed sequences and 6-0-6 programmes for BBC Radio 5 live, as well as publicity work.
“Along with Sue Barker, John is regarded as the face of our Wimbledon coverage. He is a defining voice within the BBC’s coverage. His pay reflects all of this - gender isn’t a factor.”
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