“The difference in wages is not really longer this time.”

Eva De Guidi (left) during the Hungarian club-Kampung match.Photo: Freek van den Bergh / de Volkskrant

On a scintillating Sunday afternoon in Wassenaar, two of the best Dutch hockey players of the past 15 years face off against each other with HGC midfielder Eva de Goede and striker Lidewij Welten van Kampong. De Goede (34) is on her 17th season in the majors, and Welten (32) is on her 18th. The two best slivers of their class show up in the fine duel between the mid-engines and can live with a 4-4 tie afterwards.

De Goede and Welten symbolize the successes Dutch women’s hockey has had since 2008. With the Dutch national team they have won three Olympic gold medals and three world titles. No male teammate can match De Goede and Welten’s trophy vaults, nor other female major league internationals.

About the author
Natasja Weber writes about Olympic sports such as hockey, swimming and equestrian sports.

However, the earnings of the best hockey players still lag behind those of men. This resonates with many gamers. Last month, international players Maria Verschauer (Amsterdam) and Jozen Koning (Den Bosch) decried major financial differences on International Women’s Day.

De Goede knows better than anyone that the difference in salaries between men and women in top hockey has always existed, she says after the game. I think it’s very good that people are now talking about it openly and everyone is aware that the gap exists. Because in reality it is no longer that time that the differences are so great. I know they are working on it, but I also understand that it takes time.

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An important factor in closing the compensation gap between men’s and women’s senior hockey teams is ABN Amro’s “De Catch Up” initiative. The Bank launched this project in the fall of 2020 to promote equal opportunity for men and women in hockey.

The group has put on the table a requirement that clubs must keep 50 percent of sponsorship money from ABN Amro — which is used for major league hockey — for women from 2023. In 2025, the bank will assess whether those budgets are already evenly distributed. If not, ABN Amro will stop sponsoring top hockey in the respective association.

Sander Bestivar says the reason behind the initiative is the bank’s research that men in professional hockey earn five to eight times as much as women. He is the Head of Partnerships, Events and Institutions at ABN Amro. We didn’t think the payments could be so far apart, so we set a tough condition. When we are active as a sponsor, we want our sponsors’ money to be distributed evenly.

at a lower speed

The De Catch-up project is now halfway through. Bestevaar is pleased with the steps that have been taken, but he must also realize that changes are not happening as quickly as he would like. Assuming: We can’t do it alone. We hope other sponsors will follow our initiative, says Bestivar. After all, in early hockey, it’s not uncommon for a sponsor to (participate) bankroll one of the best players.

However, the project leader is optimistic that, according to him, “without exception,” all major league clubs want to be involved in the effort to pay men and women wages equally. “This year ABN Amro has contractually agreed with all major leagues that 50 percent of the club’s sponsorship budget will go to the best hockey players and 50 percent to the best hockey players.”

And the bank confirms that the matter does not stop there. Bestivar: “The next step is that we want the budget for the best hockey game to be divided equally between men and women. The first discussions about this are ongoing.

Many major league clubs have been working for a fairer distribution of their top sports budget for some time, although they do not like to make clear the level of salaries. In general, according to Mark Van Loon, a member of the Higher Hockey Board of the HGC, there are about twenty female hockey players in the major leagues who earn a salary between 10,000 and 30,000 euros. Van Loon suspects: “Among the men, only international players will exceed 20 or 25 thousand euros.”


The presidents of Amsterdam, Dean Bosch, recently posted on the site Hockey.nl Know that in their club, 60 percent of the total budget goes to the best hockey game for men and 40 percent for women. A few years ago, that ratio was still 70-30 in both clubs. The chiefs intend to continue this streak, although they point to the importance of collectivism in light of the competition with other clubs.

Chairman Gorrit-Jan Blonk at HGC is late De Volkskrant Know that the amount in his club for the best hockey game “is now increasing towards fifty.” “We talk a lot about equal opportunity for men and women,” Blunk says. “A movement has been set in motion that will eventually lead to a situation where there will be an even distribution.”

The question is whether Eva de Guidi, 34, will continue to experience this at Hamad General Hospital. “No, I certainly don’t believe it,” says De Goede. She is thinking about her sporting future.

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