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Newcastle and Southampton defend gender pay gaps

Newcastle and Southampton have expressed their commitment to gender balance after reporting pay gaps between male and female employees in excess of 80%.

Both the Magpies and the Saints published their gender pay gap reports - as all Premier League clubs are required to do - on Friday.

Newcastle recorded a gap in mean pay during the reporting period - in their case, the 2015-16 season - of 83.3%, although the difference is reduced to 16.1% when the salaries of manager Rafael Benitez and the club's players are taken out of the equation.

The team were relegated from the Premier League at the end of that season, so no bonus payments were made.

Managing director Lee Charnley said: "Ours is a sport in which the highest-earning roles are occupied almost exclusively by men. Our gender pay gap reflects this.

"Nevertheless, Newcastle United celebrate the fact that more women and girls become involved in the world of football every day.

"We are committed to encouraging women to engage with and work in football. Whilst overall our gender pay gap is 83%, the pay gap excluding players and first-team manager is 16%.

"We maintain a commitment to ensuring gender balance wherever we can at all levels. Our senior management team within business operations at Newcastle United has equal male and female representation."

Southampton's mean pay gap was slightly higher at 84.4%, although once players' salaries are removed, the mean hourly fixed pay gap is reduced to 37%.

However, club officials claim the disparity is not due to men and women being paid differently for similar roles.

Their report, covering the year up to April 5, 2017 and signed by managing director Toby Steele and director of human resources Michelle Butler, says: "It is our belief that our gender pay gap does not stem from paying men and women differently for the same or equivalent work.

"Rather it is the result of the roles in which men and women work within Southampton Football Club and the salaries that these roles attract."

There was also a four% gap between the number of men and women who received a bonus, with 47% of make staff and 43% of female staff at the St Mary's Stadium doing so.

The report continued: "Our culture is such that every staff member should feel valued and included. Therefore it is important for us that equality is not a specialist responsibility, but that it is ingrained in how we do business."

- PA