The U.S. women’s national team has received some powerful backing in the fight for equal pay.
Senator Joe Manchin on Tuesday introduced a bill to the U.S. Senate that, if passed, would see the federal government withhold funding for the 2026 World Cup until U.S. Soccer “agrees to provide equitable pay” to both the U.S. men’s and women’s teams.
The bill calls for the cutting of any funding that would be used to support the World Cup, including “host cities, participating local and state organizations, the U.S. Soccer Federation, Concacaf and FIFA.”
Manchin credits West Virginia University coach Nikki Izzo-Brown with bringing the issue to his attention and is hoping to create a “level playing field for all.”
“I received a letter from Coach Izzo-Brown highlighting her worries that women on the WVU Women’s Soccer Team could one day make the U.S. women’s team and not get paid the same as the men’s team,” Senator Manchin said in a statement.
“That’s just plain wrong. That’s why I’m introducing legislation that will require the U.S. Soccer Federation to pay the men’s and women’s national soccer teams equitably before any federal funds may be used for the 2026 World Cup.
“The clear unequitable pay between the U.S. men’s and women’s soccer teams is unacceptable and I’m glad the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team latest victory is causing public outcry. They are the best in the world and deserve to be paid accordingly.
I’m encouraging everyone to call their Senator and Representatives to help us get this bill passed and finally create a level playing field for all.”
The USWNT, which won its fourth World Cup crown on Sunday, has been fighting for equal pay for some time.
The famous team of 1999, the USA’s second World Cup winning side, reportedly went on strike following the competition due to the pay gap.
In more recent times the USWNT has been fighting in the courts. A lawsuit was filed by five players in 2016, with another filed by all 28 members of the team in the months leading up to the 2019 World Cup.
Star Megan Rapinoe, the Golden Boot and Golden Ball winner at the 2019 World Cup, used her platform immediately following the competition to call for changes as well.
“Everyone’s asking what’s next and what we want to come all of this – it’s to stop having the conversation about equal pay and are we worth it,” Rapinoe said immediately following the match, before calling on both FIFA president Gianni Infantino and U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro to step up and address the issue.
“What are we going to do about it? Gianni, what are we going to do about it? Carlos, what are we going to do about it? Everyone. It’s time to sit down with everyone and really get to work.”
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