Male soccer players on the US men’s soccer team earned more money to qualify for the World Cup than women soccer players for winning it. That’s over. The United States Football Association has reached two labor agreements with associations of soccer players of both sexes that imply that men’s and women’s teams will be paid the same.
It is a historic step towards equal pay in sport. No other country has a similar agreement. In the United States, it came after years of protests and under pressure of a wage discrimination lawsuit in which footballers scored a victory in February of this year. Then, after six years of litigation, the Football Association reached a compensation agreement of 24 million euros with the players to systematically give them less money and support than their male colleagues. For the union, keeping this lawsuit open has damaged its image and jeopardized the multi-million dollar sponsorship.
What was then a triumph on court, is now embodied in two agreements with male and female soccer players’ associations. The agreement is valid until 2028 and involves the two teams participating in the prizes they received in exchange for their participation in international sporting events. Next is the World Cup in Qatar at the end of this year.
“It really is a historic moment. These agreements have changed the sport forever here in the United States and have the potential to change it around the world,” said FIFA President Cindy Barlow Kohn, former player and coach, when announcing the agreement.
FIFA, the body that brings together world football, gets far more income from television rights, sponsorship and advertising for the men’s World Cup than it does for women and pays federations far more to participate in the men’s World Cup than the women. What the United States Football Association and the Football Associations have decided is to correct this disparity and aggregate what is received so that men and women earn the same.
The US women’s soccer team won the World Cup in the last two editions, 2015 and 2019. Soccer is a sport in which women are highly involved in the country. Some women’s soccer players, such as Megan Rapinoe or Alex Morgan, have achieved international fame.
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