London - Tennis
great Martina Navratilova accused the BBC on Monday of a "shocking" pay
gap which saw her fellow Wimbledon pundit John McEnroe paid at least 10
times more than her.
Navratilova said she was paid around £15 000 (R252 000)
by the BBC for her role as a commentator at Wimbledon, where she was
crowned ladies' champion nine times during her tennis career.
It wasn't until the British broadcaster published the salaries of its
highest-paid stars last July, in brackets of £50 000, that she realised
fellow presenter McEnroe's pay packet was between £150 000 and
"Unless John McEnroe's doing a whole bunch of stuff outside of
Wimbledon he's getting at least 10 times as much money", Navratilova
told the BBC's Panorama programme.
The Czech-born American tennis star said she was told she was getting paid a comparable amount to men doing the same job.
"It's shocking," she told Panorama, adding: "It's still the good old
boys network... The bottom line is that male voices are valued more
than women's voices."
Responding to the allegations, the BBC said McEnroe's contract is
"entirely different" to Navratilova's and the two are 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,"
the BBC said in a statement.
"The BBC believes her pay reflects what she is asked to do, her time
commitment, her level of broadcast experience, profile and track record
and expertise," the broadcaster added, denying gender was a factor.
Navratilova worked for the BBC on 10 occasions during Wimbledon 2017,
including three live match commentaries, whereas McEnroe was on call
over the entire tournament and had a far greater workload according to
The dispute is part of a broader gender pay row at the publicly-funded BBC after the salary disclosures last year.
Twelve of the top 14 were shown to be men, as were two-thirds of BBC staff earning more than £150 000.
A review commissioned by the BBC found a 6.8 percent gender pay gap, but "no evidence of gender bias in pay decision-making".
Six male BBC presenters voluntarily agreed to take wage cuts in
January after the broadcaster's female China editor quit in protest over
Carrie Gracie was on £135 000 a year as an international editor and
since quitting her China role has been working for the BBC in London.
Comparatively, North America editor Jon Sopel earned £200 000 to
£250 000 and was among the six to agree to a pay cut, while Middle East
editor Jeremy Bowen earned £150 000 to £200 000.