Senator Joe Manchin
, a West Virginia Democrat, introduced a bill would prohibit the use of federal funds related to the organization of the 2026 World Cup, which will be co-hosted by the United
States, Canada and Mexico, unless U.S. Soccer agrees to "equitable pay" for the women's and men's national teams.
The move comes two days after chants of "Equal pay!" following the USA's
2-0 win over the Netherlands at the 2019 Women's World Cup final in France. The U.S. women are in mediation involving a gender discrimination suit filed in federal court against the federation.
"The clear unequitable pay between the U.S. men and women’s soccer teams is unacceptable and I’m glad the U.S. women’s soccer team's latest victory is causing public
outcry,” Manchin said in a statement. “I’m encouraging everyone to call their senator and representatives to help us get this bill passed and finally pay the equitable pay they
Just how an equitable pay deal would be constructed remains to be determined. Both the men's and women's teams are paid under separate collective bargaining agreements
that cover payments for international matches and world championships and working conditions. A select group of women receive salaries to play for teams in the NWSL. The big difference in the payments
relates to the bonus structures for advancement in the respective World Cups.
Manchin's bill would prohibit federal funding to host cities, state and local agencies, as well as FIFA,
Concacaf and U.S. Soccer. The World Cup will require the support of multiple federal agencies without which FIFA would not consider playing any tournament in the United States.
said he was spurred on to introduce his bill after getting a letter from Nikki Izzo-Brown
, the longtime women’s coach at West Virginia University.
The text of
Izzo-Brown’s letter: Dear Senator Manchin,
Hello! I am writing this letter requesting your support of the United States Women’s National
Soccer Team fight for equal pay. The inequality of pay is unjust and this wage gap with the US men’s national team has to stop. The woman have won four titles, men none; the woman’s
viewership in the FIFA World Cup final outdrew the men in the United States by over three million (men 11.4 , woman 14.3). Also, the women’s national team made revenue in 2016 where the men made
a net loss.
Working with women as the Women’s Soccer Coach at West Virginia University for over twenty four years and earning 17 Conference Championships, 20
NCAA appearances, and producing 25 professional players, I believe first hand, it is wrong for the US Soccer women to be paid and valued less for their work because of gender.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Head Women’s Soccer Coach
West Virginia University