Navratilova ‘angry’ at pay gap to McEnroe for BBC work

Former tennis star Martina Navratilova, right, is seen with Serena Williams after Williams won the women's final match at the Miami Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Florida, on April 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz/File)
Updated 19 March 2018
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Navratilova ‘angry’ at pay gap to McEnroe for BBC work

LONDON: Martina Navratilova is “angry” and feels let down by the BBC after learning that John McEnroe gets paid at least 10 times more than her for their broadcasting roles at Wimbledon.
In a list of the BBC’s highest-paid workers published last year, it was revealed that McEnroe earned between 150,000-199,999 pounds ($210,000-280,000) for working at Wimbledon.
Navratilova said she gets paid 15,000 pounds ($21,000).
Navratilova, a nine-time singles champion at the All England Club, said she was told by the BBC that she earns a “comparable amount, so ... we were not told the truth.”
“It’s extremely unfair and it makes me angry for the other women that I think go through this,” Navratilova told “Panorama: Britain’s Equal Pay Scandal,” a program being aired on the BBC on Monday.
The BBC responded to Navratilova’s comments by saying that, as an “occasional contributor,” she appears on fewer broadcasts and is on a different type of contract than McEnroe.
“John and Martina perform different roles in the team, and John’s role is of a different scale, scope and time commitment,” the BBC said in a statement. “They are simply not comparable.”
The corporation said that while Navratilova is paid per appearance, has a fixed volume of work and has no contractual commitment, McEnroe is on call for the entire 13 days of the tournament, has a larger breadth of work — including radio and publicity — and has a contract that means he cannot work for another British broadcaster without the BBC’s permission.
“He is a defining voice within the BBC’s coverage,” the BBC said. “He is widely considered to be the best expert/commentator in the sport, highly valued by our audiences ... His pay reflects all of this; gender isn’t a factor.”
Navratilova said her agent will ask for more money in future to work for the BBC.
The gender pay gap at the BBC has been a talking point since the salaries of top BBC talent were revealed last year. A review commissioned by the BBC found a 6.8 percent gender pay gap, but “no evidence of gender bias in pay decision-making.”


Saudi Arabia ‘has a case’ in complaint over World Cup ‘politicization’ by Qatar’s BeIN

Updated 19 June 2018
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Saudi Arabia ‘has a case’ in complaint over World Cup ‘politicization’ by Qatar’s BeIN

  • Broadcast of political messages in coverage forbidden, analyst confirms.
  • Saudi football federation urges FIFA to sanction the Doha-owned channel.

LONDON: Saudi Arabia has a justified case in complaining to FIFA over the “politicization” of the World Cup by the Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sports, a prominent TV analyst has said.
A flurry of comments by hosts and pundits aired on BeIN’s Arabic station prompted the Saudi Arabian Football Federation to complain to FIFA this week, saying the broadcaster was using the football tournament to spread political messages aimed at insulting Saudi Arabia and its leaders.
In its complaint, the federation called on FIFA to take severe sanctions against the Qatari channel and to abolish the rights granted to the network.
One BeIN commentator accused Saudi Arabia of “selling out the Palestinian cause,” while a Doha-based international footballer invited on the channel was allowed to call for an end to the year-long boycott of Qatar by neighbors Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain.
Constantinos Papavassilopoulos, principal TV research analyst at IHS Markit Technology, said that politicized coverage was expressly forbidden by world football’s governing body as well as the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
“FIFA and UEFA forbid the transmission of political messages during football matches for which they control the rights. It’s not only comments by the broadcasters — but even banners; everything (political) is forbidden,” the analyst told Arab News.
“So messages about Palestine, about political things, are not allowed.”
Papavassilopoulos said that if there is evidence of such cases, authorities in the Kingdom would be justified in taking the matter to FIFA.
“If there are video clips that show BeIN media personnel speaking against Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia has a case,” he said.
But whether FIFA will take any action against BeIN is another matter. Papavassilopoulos pointed to the fact that BeIN is a valued client of FIFA — it bought the rights to host the World Cup across the Middle East and North Africa — and that Qatar plans to host the tournament in 2022.
“BeIN media is a very good client for FIFA. And don’t forget that Qatar is the country that will host the 2022 World Cup,” he said. “It’s going to be very very hard for FIFA to impose penalties on BeIN media knowing that Qatar will hold the next World Cup.”
Some of the biggest names in Arab sport have signed a petition to protest against BeIN’s politicization of World Cup coverage, urging FIFA President Gianni Infantino to investigate the coverage.
FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by Arab News.