Most national women’s teams are paid significantly less amount than the men’s teams. The United States is not an exception. Women receive a lower amount, and this has been taken to the senate through a bill that proposes an equal payment for the two national soccer/football teams.
On 9th July 2019, Senator Joe Manchin introduced a bill that will change the funding of the men’s soccer team for FIFA world cup soccer schedule for 2026. The proposal argues that the team will not receive financial support unless the US soccer federation agrees on equal pay for the two teams.
Despite the pay difference, the women’s team brings more glory to the US. Unlike the men’s team that has not shown excellent performance in recent years, the women’ team won their second world championship cup after beating Netherlands 2-0 in a game played on 7th July 2019. During his bill presentation, Manchin argued that the women’s players are the best in the world and thus deserve payment according to their status on the global rankings.
Interruptions on the Men’s Team Preparation for the World cup
If the bill passes, the US men’s national team will be adversely affected. The federal government will be forced to withhold all the funding to the team. Most teams, including the US, start their world cup preparations early enough to ensure they are ready for the challenge. The US team also engages in several tournaments that require enough resources, and if the funds are withheld, the team will not be part of crucial matches.
The issue of the pay gap between the two national soccer/football teams is not new. The women players have expressed their dissatisfaction with the pay they receive. On 28th March 2019, they accused the US Soccer federation of gender discrimination. In the court papers, the federation is accused of gender discrimination that amounts to an abuse of the equal pay and civil rights acts. The team argued that despite their success in the game, they receive much less pay then the men who have not shown any appealing results in recent times.
The gap in the payment has also attracted the attention of Congress. About 50 members of Congress have expressed their concerns on the differences in the way the teams are treated. In their letter to the US soccer federation, they have demanded answers on why the women’s team receives low pay, are accorded poor training conditions and less support compared to the men’s team despite their success.
The US soccer federation has defended themselves by stating that the two teams signed a collective bargaining agreement that accords them the different treatments, including the payment. The women’s team signed their collective barging in 2017, which was totally different from what men had signed.
The Senate bill on equal pay for women’s soccer team is an interesting topic that is going to draw opinions from several corners. If the bill passes, it is likely to trigger similar debates in other countries, especially where the women’s teams are performing better than the men’s teams.