The USA soccer team, arguably considered the best in the world, is currently playing a World Cup tournament in France. They have won three of the seven World Cups played, including the last one in 2015 and are playing in the semis next week. They have a chance to win a fourth World Cup but it won’t be easy
By comparison, since World War II, the men’s team has advanced past the World Cup round of 16 exactly once. They finished eighth in 2002. They are 24th in FIFA’s rankings and failed to even qualify for last years tournament.
According to audited financial statements from the U.S. Soccer Federation obtained by the Wall Street Journal, the women’s team has generated more revenue than men’s games over the past three years.
So why was the women’s team forced to file a federal employment discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation alleging that although they could earn a maximum of 99,000 for winning 20 friendly games this year, the men would earn an average of 260,000 for the same exact accomplishment.
For winning the 2015 World Cup, the women’s team received 1.725 million from the federation. For its 15th place finish, the men took home bonuses totaling nearly 5.4 million.
According to figures obtained from the Federation’s financial report, the women’s team helped the Federation exceed it’s overall projected revenue for the year by 18 million.
According to the lawsuit, the women’s player association has proposed a revenue sharing model that would tie player compensation to revenue generated by the women’s national team.
Seems fair and reasonable to me. Oh, and the men’s national team has issued a statement of support for the women’s team lawsuit and the revenue sharing model.
By the way, this is not just a USA problem. The best female soccer player in the world, Ada Hegerberg, from Norway, has not played for her national team since 2017, protesting what she states is gender discrimination from the Norwegian Federation between how it treats the men’s and women’s team. While Norway has since adjusted their pay scales and bonuses, it’s hasn’t done enough to encourage Hegerberg to return.
So the big question is why? How can an organization who acknowledges that women are generating higher revenues than men, continue to pay women less?
What year are we living in and when will this type of antiquated thinking finally be put behind us?