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Archive for May 19, 2022

May 19, 2022 — U.S. Soccer’s push to equality exposes worldwide inequality

Monday, with some fanfare, U.S. Soccer announced the ratification and adoption of collective bargaining agreements to equalize pay between the men’s and women’s senior national teams and their players.

From June 1 forward, the men and the women will evenly split commercial revenue, including sonosorship, media rights, and ticket revenue,

There was a little give and take, Members of the men’s national team will have access to child care while in camp, while the women have given up guaranteed contracts with the national team, which had been the primary source of income given the paucity of professional women’s clubs around the world even up until the 2010s.

That has changed tremendously in the last decade and a half. The English FA, which had banned women from playing soccer altogether until 1969, went from a ragtag first division including such names as Doncaster Belles, Maidstone Tigresses, and the Millwall Lionesses. Today, the FA Women’s Super League has world-recognized clubs like Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Manchester City in its ranks.

FC Barcelona, A.C. Milan, Bayern Munich, and Club America have started women’s teams and have drawn fans in the tens of thousands.

There is one proviso of the new U.S. Soccer collective agreement which says that, after consecutive World Cups with the men and the women, the pool money from the two consecutive tournaments are pooled and split between the teams and the Federation. In other words, whatever the U.S. men win for placing in Qatar is added to whatever the women win for placing in Australia. The men get 45 percent, the women 45 percent, and the USSF gets 10 percent.

This part of the agreement lays bare an enormous bastion of gender inequality: the world governing body of the sport, FIFA. For the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the prize pool for the 32 teams is $440 million, up $40 million from Russia 2018. The women split a prize pool of $30 million for France 2019, but it’s been reported that the amount will double to $60 million for Australia 2023.

Here’s the thing, however, The 16 teams which fail to qualify for the knockout stage of this fall’s tournament in Qatar will receive $12 million each. The winner of the last Women’s World Cup, the United States, was paid a mere $4 million.

That’s how bad the pay gap is worldwide, and FIFA is directly responsible. It’s going to be interesting to see how these figures are discussed over the next six months.