Frank de Boer has labelled the equal pay debate as “ridiculous” following the Dutch federation’s commitment to level the pay for the country’s men’s and women’s national team players.
De Boer represented the Netherlands from 1990 to 2004, earned 112 caps while scoring 13 goals for his country.
He was a member of the Oranje’s 1994 and 1998 World Cup squads while helping the team reach the semi-final round in each of his three European Championship appearances.
The Dutch women’s team experienced their own taste of success this summer, making it all the way to the World Cup final before falling to the United States.
In June, the Royal Dutch Federation passed a policy stating that women will receive annual raises through 2023, when their earnings with the national team will equal that of their male counterparts.
But De Boer says he does not believe that system is fair as there remains a clear difference in revenue between the men’s and women’s teams.
“I think for me, it’s ridiculous,” De Boer told the Guardian.
“It’s the same like tennis. If there are watching, for the World Cup final, 500 million people or something like that, and 100 million for a women’s final, that’s a difference. So it’s not the same.
“And of course they have to be paid what they deserve to [earn] and not less, just what they really deserve. If it’s just as popular as the men, they will get it, because the income and the advertising will go into that.
“But it’s not like that, so why do they have to earn the same? I think it’s ridiculous. I don’t understand that.”
The former Ajax and Barcelona star is currently managing Atlanta United in the United States, where an equal pay debate remains a talking point following this summer’s World Cup triumph.
The USWNT have been vocal about their stance on the debate for several years, with U.S. Soccer recently hiring lobbyists to counter the equal pay argument.
De Boer says he believes that the equal pay debate was spurred on by changes in other aspects of society that have nothing to do with sport.
“I think it started because a woman [was] getting underpaid, especially at [managerial] positions,” he said.
“They have to earn the same as a man. I think if you have a manager position for a bank or something, you have to earn the same what the men did because it’s not physically, just only here [points to head], so why do you have to earn less, because you’re doing the same job as a man?
“I think that’s also dropped a little bit into the sports world, like tennis and soccer. But I think that’s still different.”