German Chancellor Olaf Scholz addresses the media at the ?DFB Campus? of the German football association DFB in Frankfurt, Germany, on August 9, 2022. (Photo by Daniel ROLAND / AFP)

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is a man who usually weighs his choice of words carefully. All the more surprising was his recent tweet about gender equality in football, in which Scholz wrote: “It’s 2022. Women and men should be paid equally. This also applies to sport, especially to national teams (…).”

The reason for this was the strong performance of the women at the European Championships in England, who stormed through to the final and were enthusiastically accompanied by more and more people in Germany. Scholz started a debate with his demand and wanted to discuss this topic again personally with representatives of the German Football Association (DFB).

This meeting took place on Tuesday in the new DFB campus in Frankfurt. DFB President Bernd Neuendorf was there, as were Managing Director Oliver Bierhoff and Vice President Celia Sasic. And in addition to many friendly words for each other, there were also a few facts at the end.

“I think that’s something political, unlike the salary negotiations that successful players conduct elsewhere,” said the Chancellor. For whom it therefore makes sense “that we are discussing the same premiums.” He is now happy that “there is a willingness to discuss this question and to think about how it should be in the future.”

Neuendorf announced. “I am at least willing to talk to the representatives of the senior national teams in our committees about whether our bonus system, which has grown over decades, is still up to date.”

For many neutral football observers, this no longer seems to be the case. It’s not just about the manageable bonuses or salaries in women’s football, but even more about the millions that men can earn with their sport. An Anthony Modeste, for example, whose move from 1. FC Köln to Borussia Dortmund has been fixed since Monday, also left his old club because he can still earn more than the 3.5 million euros at BVB that he could at FC for his football received services.

The best German soccer players can’t even dream of such dimensions – they don’t even do it, but rather show a clear view of reality. National coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, who is currently on vacation and therefore missed the meeting on Tuesday in Frankfurt, recently explained on Bayern 1: “We said we want to have ‘equal play’ first, that we have better structures, that we have talent justice that all girls can play football.”

The players in Germany are still a long way from that, too. Voss-Tecklenburg recently underlined this again in the ZDF sports studio; and her national goalkeeper Merle Frohms gave clear keywords for this: “Visibility. Equal opportunity. Acceptance.”

So far, the women have only been visible at major tournaments, although the ratings for the television broadcasts of the games were somewhat lower than for comparable men’s events, but were in a very high range with values ​​between ten and 20 million viewers.

This is one of the reasons why the question of equal pay came up; and it is difficult for many to understand why the men would have received 400,000 euros per player for the European Championship title in 2021 and the women “only” 60,000 euros. Adjustments are therefore most conceivable for the premium product national team, because the demand is right here.

At club level, things are different, as DFB President Neuendorf emphasized again on Tuesday when he said: “It must also be noted that despite the same activities, the markets are still very different.”

While the men’s Bundesliga games take place week after week in large, modern football arenas that are sold out and are also watched by many people on television, this is not the case for the women. There is therefore no comparability at this level and it cannot be expedient.

On the other hand, it is not very beneficial for the development of women’s football in Germany if 50 percent of the Bundesliga players have to have a job alongside their sport. Base salaries could be a solution here. For Voss-Tecklenburg it is clear: “Don’t just talk, let the facts follow”. At least a start seems to have been made.