Equal Pay for Men’s and Women’s Soccer Teams
Figure 1 Some USWNT players have just as a big a profile as the men
The US national men’s and women’s soccer teams are not the first to announce equal pay for their players. But a recent agreement has been applauded as being one of the fairest and most groundbreaking in recent history. With all FIFA prize money now being split evenly between the two squads, there have been a lot of celebrations off the pitch for the US.
Betting sites covered in online sportsbook reviews may not initially take too much notice of the news. But, with an added incentive to do well in FIFA competitions, the US teams certainly have a greater financial reason for going as far as they can now. But how did we reach this important point in US soccer history?
History of a Decision
The USWNT has traditionally been more successful than its male counterpart. But that is not the main reason for a demand for a change in the way the players are paid. It just seemed unfair that women received fewer rewards than the men – and in 2016, five players began a legal fight for fair pay.
After failing to reach an agreement, the players withdrew their original complaint and filed on the basis of gender discrimination in federal court. The USWNT won the World Cup in 2019 and was greeted with chants of “equal pay” in the stadium and during the celebrations back in New York.
During the trial in 2020, US Soccer lawyers argued that “indisputable science” proved that the women’s team was inferior to the men. That obviously didn’t go down too well but the case was ultimately dismissed. There did seem to be room for negotiation though.
The six-year legal battle ended in February when US Soccer agreed to pay $24 million in back payments. Now it has been agreed that all future pay and prize money will be pooled and distributed 50/50 between the men’s and women’s teams.
Countries like Norway and Australia have already agreed to equal pay structures in the past. But the decision by US Soccer is different in that 90% of all money is to be shared. That is much more than with other federations and associations – but the pooling of the money is the real difference.
Prize money is much bigger in the men’s World Cup than the women’s, for example. But from now on, all money will go into one pot and be shared evenly. Obviously that means that the women could be set for a much bigger payday. But it has to be remembered they are the ones that have always been more successful in international competitions.
Figure 2 The US women will now receive equal pay with the men
In the short term it is the men that have the bigger test ahead. After missing out completely on the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the USMNT has qualified for Qatar 2022 and has been grouped with England, Iran and one of Wales, Scotland and Ukraine. The prize money from that FIFA World Cup will now be shared with the women’s team.
The USWNT will take part in the CONCACAF W Championship later this year, a competition it has won in eight of ten editions. There will be the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023 and then the Olympics the year after. Then both squads of players will look forward to the 2026 FIFA World Cup for men, which is set to be co-hosted by the US. That should be an excellent opportunity for the team to do well – and the financial rewards should be even greater.
The Future of US Soccer
Apart from anything else, the agreement puts to an end a bitter legal dispute between groups that should all be fighting towards the same goal. Now the players can concentrate on their game – and American boys and girls playing soccer can look forward to a more equal future.