The US House of Representatives has passed a bill ensuring that men and women are compensated equally for their performance in sports, after a long campaign to implement this in football.
The Team USA Equal Pay Act mandates equal pay and benefits for those who represent the United States in sports, and this will include all domestic sports.
It also means that the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) can determine which violations are recognized and which sports come under its jurisdiction.
This was approved unanimously in the Senate, and it is now up to US President Joe Biden to confirm it.
Female soccer players like Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan have been at the forefront of these calls, being part of a federal gender discrimination lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation.
Earlier this year, they signed a new collective bargaining agreement, which included fair distribution of funds based on performance at the FIFA World Cup.
Despite the conclusion of the collective agreement, this equal pay was not legally binding on the national federations, which means that the legislation guarantees this in the future.
“By sending this legislation to the president, both houses have sent a clear message that this is the standard for all national teams in all sports and underscores the importance of working with our athletes to achieve equal pay, including award equity, in international criticism,” he said. NFL President Cindy Barlow Conn in a statement.
The bill was sponsored by Democratic Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, which was later co-sponsored by fellow party member and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Senator Cynthia Loomis, Republican of Wyoming, and Senator Shelly Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia, also co-sponsored the bill.
The bill means an amendment to the USOPC to ensure equal pay is legally enforced, while an annual report on equal treatment for athletes will also be a requirement.
The campaign for equal pay reaches far beyond the United States, where Canada’s men’s national soccer team recently went on strike to push for equal compensation for their female counterparts.
This led to the cancellation of a friendly with Panama hours before scheduled, in June.
In 2020, England and Brazil confirmed they would pay their teams equally in major tournaments, joining Australia, Norway and New Zealand in the initiative at the time.