A new contract last week ended a years-long battle between the women of the U.S. soccer team and the football association US Soccer. In the end, the footballers got what they wanted: equal pay.
Men and women will now receive $8,000 (7,600 euros) per international game, as well as a profit bonus of $10,000 (9,500 euros), as stipulated in the agreement between the men’s and women’s national team and US Soccer.
According The New York Times women can now earn around $450,000 a year, and around double that in a successful World Cup year.
Construction is not new to the world of football. Women in Norway, among others, are paid the same as men, but in the Scandinavian country, major tournament prizes are still distributed disproportionately.
This is exactly what sets the US deal apart: the men and women pool all the money they receive from FIFA during the World Cup, then divide the total into two equal amounts. According to the American Football Association, this is a unique arrangement. “No country has done it yet,” said President Cindy Cone.
Women are expected to improve significantly in the near future. To illustrate: for the next World Cup in Qatar, Fifa allocates more than 400 million euros in prize money to the 32 participating countries. Whoever survives the group stage is already insured for around 10 million. The women’s teams in turn shared a prize pool of around 30 million euros during the 2019 World Cup in France. Winner America retained 4 million dollars (3.8 million euros) from the success.
Winning the final against the Netherlands meant the US women’s fourth World Cup title, while the men failed to qualify for the world championship in Russia in 2018. In the US, women’s soccer has much more successful than the men, who were nevertheless better paid.
In 2016, five national team players – Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo – filed a complaint with a gender discrimination commission. “Men make more money showing up than we do winning tournaments,” Solo said.
According to women, they also made more money from American football than men. The football association dug its heels in the sand and came up with figures that showed otherwise.
It was the beginning of a fierce struggle. In 2019, this resulted in a lawsuit, which the women ultimately lost. Followers of the affair saw how footballers had become victims of their own success: because of the World Cup titles and their popularity (in 2019 15 million Americans watched the final), they had during the trial period (2015 to 2019) .. earned relatively expensive, while the men just went without a big tournament.
The women appealed, but earlier this year the case was suddenly settled for $24 million. US Soccer has promised that the next employment contract will include equal pay. Last Wednesday it happened.
“I’m incredibly proud,” said Rapinoe, who over the years has become the banner of the fight for equal pay. In 2019, audiences chanted the two words as she took the stage at a parade for the world champion in New York.
Sauerbrunn, also among the top five to file complaints in 2016, thanked the women who fought with her: “There’s still work to be done, but let’s enjoy it for a while.”
Until now, women’s internationals were paid by US Soccer for an entire season. The players initially accepted a lower amount in exchange for better salaries in the American women’s league NWSL. Men’s internationals were paid by the game, and above all more. From now on, this last construction also applies to women, who take a small risk. Anyone who is not called, or who is injured, will not receive anything from now on.
The U.S. men’s national team also reacted to the new deal last week. “I am extremely proud that this has been achieved,” RB Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams tweeted. “It took a lot of work, but we finally got it.”
According to international Walker Zimmerman, who took part in the negotiations on behalf of the players’ union, the agreement had been difficult. The distribution of the prize money was preceded by “difficult conversations”, the defender revealed. “But we soon saw that there would be no other option than an equal split.” The men deserved a compliment, thought US President Cone. “It’s not easy to give up that money,” Ege told the former USA player. “That they did it deserves applause.”
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