'Equitable pay' bill introduced in Senate tied to World Cup 2026 funding

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 deserve.”

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.

Manchin 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!


Nikki Izzo-Brown
Head Women’s Soccer Coach
West Virginia University
18 comments about "'Equitable pay' bill introduced in Senate tied to World Cup 2026 funding".
  1. beautiful game, July 9, 2019 at 9:06 p.m.

    Really, Senator? That's so important to you?

  2. Carlos N, July 9, 2019 at 9:12 p.m.

    This "bill" introduced by Manchin sounds more like a resolution. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just that the devil is always in the details. I'm all for the USWNT being more equitably compensated based on their outstanding results. 

  3. Bob Ashpole replied, July 9, 2019 at 9:23 p.m.

    Think of it as a verbal warning given in lieu of a caution. It is game management by the referee.

  4. Bob Ashpole, July 9, 2019 at 9:20 p.m.

    It is a shift in the political wind. Will USSF take notice?

  5. R2 Dad, July 10, 2019 at 12:11 a.m.

    Politicians should just take their photo ops and leave before Pronouncements are made, Posturing is Required and then Making an Example follows swiftly. Kiss of death, people. Kiss. Of. Death.

  6. Kevin Johnson replied, July 10, 2019 at 12:22 a.m.

    That’s a cynical view. Where do you think legislation for Title IX came from?

  7. R2 Dad replied, July 10, 2019 at 12:43 a.m.

    Congress has had single digit approval ratings since, what, the last millennium? They've earned the cynicism. Title 9 was 47 years ago! We were at war with Vietnam and Nixon was president! Maybe they should do something this decade? Beside running for re-election? 

  8. Peter Bechtold, July 10, 2019 at 1:37 a.m.

    Wouldn't it be funny if this bill became law--let's hope not--and the US would be barred from hosting in 2026, meaning that all matches would be played in Mexico--3rd time& altitude--and oor Canada-- 9 of 10 stadiums having artificial turf, just to spite folksw here. 

  9. Bob Ashpole replied, July 10, 2019 at 2:29 a.m.

    Barred from hosting? Just to spite folks? The event is supported by business sponsers and local and state governments in hopes of generating income from the events. I don't recall any federal tax dollars being used for the 1994 event.

    Discrimination is already illegal. This bill would only establish a coercive policy of not providing federal funds to encourage USSF compliance with existing laws. 

  10. frank schoon, July 10, 2019 at 8:01 a.m.

    I don't know all the facts and figures but to say men and women have to be paid the same is so simplistic without knowing all facts and circumstances. For example the men receive a smaller percentage of the gate ,I think 9%, I could be wrong, as compared to the women who receive 13%. The difference is the men's WC made many Billions as compared to the women that was in the millions. So that in a nutshell is where the difference lies , it's the gate revenue
    ..I'm sorry to say we have these blowheart politicians getting involved who have never even kicked a ball and have no clue how it's all set up and go by simplistic phrases, "we support equal pay"

  11. Peter Bechtold replied, July 10, 2019 at 9:02 a.m.

    Yes Frank. The lawsuit in federal court now is a good example of cherry-picking data, and we have to wait and see what mediation will produce. But we do know a few facts: The players on the WNT all play in NWSL and are each paid $ 100,000 by USSF to do so( to keep the league afloat unlike the two predecessors that folded in the last decade).The men receive nothing from USSF. If USSF withdraws that subsidy, NWSL would almost certainly collapse and the women would be free to play abroad. 
    The "inequality" derives not from USSF action, but from FIFA disbursements which in turn result from tv and sponsorship and ticket sales from the mens WC, all of them much larger than the WWC. The numbers show that the men received shares of 7.8 % while the women received 13 % of their respective revenues. But 7.8 % of a much larger pot exceeds 13 % of a much smaller one. Should they not have been suing FIFA by that logic ?

  12. frank schoon replied, July 10, 2019 at 11:05 a.m.

    Peter, boy, you're up on this stuff...my head is beginning to smoke already, reading your info.
    Maybe James Madison who's a lawyer has a few tidbits to add on to...
    The women are paid a $100,000 by USSF,WOW!!!!!  I know the older guys who went to through all the  struggles in the early days of soccer here had difficulty even earning a decent paycheck. Most of the guys had to get a parttime job to make ends meet. 

    I can't believe what these women are earning. They should talk to some of the old guys what went  through... 

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, July 10, 2019 at 12:24 p.m.

    The Equal Pay Act is fairly simple. An employer cannot pay women at a rate less than men for doing the same work in the same establishment.

    First you determine the establishment. NWSL pay is not relevant unless it is part of the "establishment" where the men and women work. In my view you either include both MLS and NWSL or include neither. I would exclude both MLS and NWSL. So that means you would not be looking at pay for playing club ball.

    This isn't rocket science. The gender discrimination issues are much more subjective and harder to predict what is going to happen. I would look at how Title VII is implemented for athletic programs at universities as a guide. 

  14. Goal Goal replied, July 10, 2019 at 3:45 p.m.


    Frank, before seeing an opportunity here I would bet that Sen. Munchkin didn't know what side of the soccer ball to kick.

  15. frank schoon replied, July 10, 2019 at 4:13 p.m.


  16. Bob Ashpole replied, July 10, 2019 at 6:42 p.m.

    Manchin may surprise you. He is a moderate, an NRA member, and often votes with the Republican Senators. West Virginia is big-time football country, so I doubt he ever played soccer.

  17. Kevin Mccrudden, July 10, 2019 at 8:38 p.m.

    I’m sorry, but doesn’t anybody do any research before they do these things??

    all this uproar is actually inaccurate!

    Here is a legitimate Forbes article that addresses the disparity and a picture of payouts from the Men’s 2018 World Cup. 
    PLEASE KEEP IN MIND: The Men’s FIFA WORLD CUP is the largest sporting event in the world!!
    There have been over 30 Men’s World Cups dating back to 1930 and Soccer was “invented” in 1863. 

  18. Bob Ashpole replied, July 11, 2019 at 2 p.m.

    That article doesn't address the subject of the lawsuit.

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