Sponsors key to prize equality, says Pooley

 
Frank Dalleres
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BRITISH cyclist-turned-duathlete Emma Pooley has warned that women’s prize money in some sports will continue to lag behind men’s as long as equivalent sponsorship revenue remains imbalanced.

Sport minister Helen Grant yesterday called for more to be done to ensure gender pay equality after a study revealed three in 10 major sports still pay more prize money to men. Football, cricket and golf were named as the worst offenders by the BBC survey, which looked at 56 sports, with Germany’s World Cup winning men receiving £22m – £21.4m more than their Japanese female counterparts.

But Pooley said: “It is hard to regulate prize money when competitions aren’t the same. You can’t force a race organiser to pay out prize money they don’t have when they don’t have sponsorship. Until the sustainable model is there, there won’t be sponsorship to pay out the prize money.”

Of 35 sports in the survey that pay prize money, 25 do so equally to men and women. Those include tennis, athletics, diving, sailing, bowls, volleyball, shooting and taekwondo.

Grant said the issue was “not just about the bottom line, profits and the return on investment”, but also “taking part in the battle for gender balance and fairness in the 21st century”. She added: “In 70 per cent of sports there is parity and that’s great and that’s what we want.”

KEY FINDINGS

■ Of 35 major sports that pay prize money, 25 pay the same amount to men and women
■ Sports that pay equal prize money to both genders include athletics, diving, sailing, tennis and volleyball
■ Sports that don’t pay equal prize money include football, cricket, golf, darts, snooker and squash