‘Historic’ equal pay agreement for US men’s and women’s soccer players

26 May 2022 | 08:20 | Football

Catarina Macario of the US celebrates after scoring the goal against Iceland at the 2022 SheBelieves Cup. Photo: AFP


Catarina Macario of the US celebrates after scoring the goal against Iceland at the 2022 SheBelieves Cup. Photo: AFP

The U.S. men’s and women’s national soccer teams will receive equal pay under a new contract featuring an unprecedented split of World Cup prize money, the United States Soccer Federation announced Wednesday.

“This is a truly historic moment,” said Cindy Parlow Cone, president of US Soccer. “These deals have changed the game forever here in the United States and have the potential to change the game around the world.”

The landmark collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) reached between the federation and its senior national teams will see US Soccer distribute millions more dollars to its top players through through increased match pay and revenue sharing from ticket sales as well as sponsorship and broadcast deals.

But the revolutionary feature was the provision that players from both teams pool and share unequal prize money paid by global governing body FIFA for participating in their respective World Cups.

Balancing salaries for the World Cup used to be a major obstacle due to the large disparity in FIFA’s payouts for men’s and women’s events.

FIFA awarded France $38 million for winning the 2018 men’s World Cup but only $4 million for the United States for the women’s 2019 World Cup victory.

American players meanwhile received $9 million in prize money at the last World Cup they attended, in 2014, only for reaching the round of 16.

The men’s team in 2018 – which last competed in the World Cup in Russia – also received double the prize money of the women’s team in 2019 when they were champions.

FIFA has announced that the total prize money for this year’s Men’s World Cup in Qatar will be $400 million, while the prize money for the women’s tournament in Australia in 2023 will be $60 million.

To reconcile that difference with the new agreements, US Soccer is sticking to the slogan “One Country, One Team,” said American forward Midge Purce, who served as a member of the bargaining committee for the bridge association. female goalkeeper, said.

“I think we set a new standard of value for women in the workforce,” Purce said. “I don’t know when, how or where this will happen, and what exactly it will trigger next, but I think it will inspire a lot and motivate a lot of individuals. and the group pushed further on this issue.”

For non-World Cup tournaments, such as those organized by regional governing body CONCACAF, US players from “both teams will earn an equal amount of total prize money”. paid when both teams enter the same competition.”

Players from both teams will also receive equal pay – up to $18,000 for a win – for international matches hosted by US Soccer.

“This CBA achievement is testament to the incredible efforts of WNT players on and off the field,” said US women’s team captain Becky Sauerbrunn, president of the women’s union.

However, Cone admits that “no matter how you look at it, the men are putting money into making this equal, and so I think the men’s team and the men’s players union should be welcome.”

“This is a big deal,” President Joe Biden tweeted about the deal Thursday night.

“I’m proud of you guys for never giving up and I commend @ussoccer (US Soccer League) for agreeing to do the right thing,” he added.

Midfielder Walker Zimmerman, a member of the men’s players’ union bargaining committee, acknowledged the negotiations involved some “tough conversations” but said that in the end the men were proud when be “side” with the women’s team.

– ‘We got it’ –

“They said equal pay for men and women was not possible, but that didn’t stop us and we went ahead and achieved it,” Zimmerman said.

In February, the US women’s national team won a $24 million payout and the promise of equal pay in a major deal with US Soccer, which is subject to a new collective bargaining agreement. .

The question of World Cup bonuses has become a prominent part of the lawsuit, filed in 2019 and accusing the federation of “stubbornly refusing” to pay equal wages to its male and female players.

Female star Megan Rapinoe, who has earned a reputation as an uncompromising supporter for a number of reasons including equal pay and conditions for her and her teammates, said in February that the deal marked a time when “US Soccer changed for the better.”

The United States women have won four Women’s World Cup championships and four Olympic gold medals. They are chasing an unprecedented third consecutive Women’s World Cup title after winning titles in 2015 in Canada and 2019 in France.