National Women's Soccer League

FIFA's role in Equal Pay Dispute: USSF offers USWNT equal contract with USMNT

The United States Women's National Team (USWNT) is locked in a dispute with the United States Soccer Federation over equal pay. FIFA plays a huge role in the dispute through its prize money disparity.

FIFA's role in Equal Pay Dispute: USSF offers USWNT equal contract with USMNT

The United States Women's National Team (USWNT) has made a significant breakthrough in their quest to achieve equal pay for both the United States Men's National Team (USMNT) and the United States Women's National Team (USWNT). On Wednesday the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) revealed that it has offered identical contracts to the USMNT and the USWNT as part of its efforts to resolve the pay dispute between both teams. However, the USWNT has rejected this offer, calling it a 'PR Stunt' and 'bargaining through the media.'

Why did the USWNT file a lawsuit against USSF over Equal Pay Dispute?

The gender pay dispute started when members of the USWNT filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in March 2019. The USWNT were preparing to contest for their 4th World Cup title in France later that summer. In contrast, the USMNT had failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia but were still largely paid more than the Women's team. The USWNT went on to win their 4th World Cup title in July of 2019 to further drive home their point. Megan Rapinoe, who has been at the forefront of the fight, won the tournament's best player award in what was a cosmic justice. 

Despite having a major lawsuit dismissed in court in May 2020, the USWNT has launched an appeal that is still in court. To try to resolve the dispute, the USSF noted that its offer of equal contracts for the USWNT and the USMNT will create a single equal pay structure, which is 'the best path forward.' However, the Players' Association of the USWNT, USWNTPA, refused the offer stating that the USSF offer doesn't help the USWNTPA's goals of 'bargaining in good faith to achieve equal pay and the safest working conditions possible.' The USSF though called on player unions to support in equalizing the prize money being offered by FIFA for the FIFA World Cup.

FIFA's role in USMNT & USWNT Equal Pay Dispute explained 

Beyond the purview of the dispute between the USWNT and the USSF is the disparity in the prize money being offered by FIFA for its flagship FIFA World Cup competition. In 2018, FIFA offered a total of $400m for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Winners, France went home with $38m at the end of the tournament. In contrast, the USWNT received only $4m for winning the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. A total of $38m was earmarked as prize money to all teams that participated in the competition. 

Though FIFA has promised to raise the total prize money for the 2023 Women's World Cup to $60m, it still massively pales to the $440m earmarked for the 2022 Men's World Cup. The USSF argues that FIFA's financial allotment is based on the pay inequality between the USMNT and the USWNT.

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