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John McEnroe backs BBC in gender pay row

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By Emily Commander
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John McEnroe backs BBC in gender pay row

Former US tennis star John McEnroe has backed the BBC in a gender pay row over wages paid to commentators during the Wimbledon championship.

Martina Navratilova, also a former champion, said she found out last year that McEnroe made at least ten times as much as she did: 170,000 euros compared to her 17,000.

McEnroe won three Wimbledon singles titles, and Navratilova won nine.

Speaking to the BBC Panorama programme, she said:

"It's shocking...for me it's a part time job, it's two weeks of my life, but for the woman that work there full time, maybe the discrepency is not that large but it adds up over a lifetime, it adds up to an amazing amount of money. It's extremely unfair."

BBC Equal pay row

The BBC admits to having a gender pay gap of nine per cent, compared to the ninety per cent gap cited in this case, meaning more men are in better paid jobs, but it denies it pays women less for equal work.

The UK House of Commons, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee is running a high-profile inquiry into pay inequalities at the broadcasting corporation.

The BBC says Navratilova appeared on fewer broadcasts than McEnroe and has a different type of contract.

John McEnroe was asked to respond to the allegations and seemed to resent the implication that he had somehow done something wrong:

"I believe that the BBC has responded in a way that is appropriate and I don't know the details of what's going on and I certainly feel like it's going to be appropriate real soon to comment because it's somehow making it sound like poor Johnny Mac's the bad guy in this."

As his parody account on Twitter said: