I first looked at a recent statement by the Black Land First Party (at the bottom of this explainer) in which they demand that SAFA pay the women and men’s South African Football team members the same pay and decided not to point out certain failings with the BLF assumptions.
I have now looked a couple of times at the statement and, despite the risk of being labelled sexist, must comment that mere fact that Banyana and Bafana are paid differently as the result of some supposed sexist construct in the minds of the BLF actually demonstrates a sincere lack of economic logic in the minds of the Black Land First Party.
Allow me to try and explain:
- I believe 100% in equal pay for equal work
- Women’s Football is a ‘newcomer’ to the stage
- Women’s Football could be described, like sports such as sailing, as a Cinderella sport – i.e not very popular and with less than 10 000 active participants
- Women’s Football attracts less spectators than Men’s Football
- Less spectators means less gate revenue and less sponsorship money
- Less revenue means less money available to pay your workers (in this case – the women who play for Banyana Banyana).
So, to demand equal pay for men and women playing fottball on a National level, in two different ‘leagues’ is just plain ludicrous and demonstrates a distinct lack of understanding of economics.
Let me hasten to add: IF Men and Women played in the SAME Football team then one would expect NO DISCRIMINATION on the basis of gender for Bafana Banyana.
BUT, even on a football team one gets different pay for different positions and levels of skill in the same positions.
On another note the BLF in their statement say; “…it is symptomatic of how black women are devalued and undermined in South Africa.” When last I looked the Banyana Banyana Team comprised other races than Black so does this imply that the BLF want ONLY Black Women on the team to receive parity with Bafana Bafana Players? Is that not racist?
FYI BLF – the sport of sailing is one of the ONLY physical sports in which men and women compete on the same playing field AND, the National Representatives DO NOT get paid to do so – with most having to fork out personal money for the privilege of representing South Africa at an international level.
Sport is an economic activity reliant on support from fans, government and sponsors – by demanding equal pay for all one takes away the incentive to excel.
The press release is below:
Black First Land First (BLF) is appalled by the South African Football Association’s (SAFA) treatment of Banyana Banyana in comparison to Bafana Bafana. We believe that it is symptomatic of how black women are devalued and undermined in South Africa.
The disparity in payments between Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana is a national disgrace which must end forthwith. SAFA must do the right thing and implement parity of payments between the two national soccer teams.
While Banyana Banyana’s players receive a match bonus of R5 000 for a win in an official match, and R4 000 for a win in a friendly match, Bafana Bafana players earn as much as R60 000 for a win‚ and R40 000 for a draw. There is evidently a big pay discrepancy between the two teams.
BLF wrote to SAFA on the 10th of April and gave them a grace period of almost 2 weeks to sort this issue out, which they have obviously failed to do so.
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