No funds for you, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told FIFA on Tuesday. The Democrat has introduced legislation that would withhold federal funding from the men's World Cup in 2026 until the U.S. women's national team gets paid as much as their male counterparts.
The U.S. players filed a lawsuit against the U.S. soccer federation in March with their financial demands. Perhaps the best case they've made so far has been on the pitch. For the past month they've been kicking butt in France, until finally winning the 2019 Women's World Cup on Sunday, beating the Netherlands 2-0, and successfully defending their 2015 win. Oh, and they also won two more times before that. The Women's World Cup started in 1991, so if you're keeping count, the U.S. has won half of the eight tournaments so far. The women's games have also garnered higher ratings and more revenue in recent years.
The men? They haven't done so hot. They've won zero World Cup titles. Hence why the ladies are demanding equal pay. And as we now know, they have quite a few supporters on Capitol Hill.
The 2026 World Cup is expected to be hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States as part of a joint bid and will need federal funding. That's not going to happen until the female players' demands are met, said Manchin. He presented his bill on Tuesday after reading a concerned letter from the women’s soccer coach at West Virginia University, Nikki Izzo-Brown.
"I received a letter from Coach Izzo-Brown highlighting her worries that women on the WVU Women’s Soccer Team could one day make the U.S. women’s team and not get paid the same as the men’s team. That’s just plain wrong," Manchin said in a statement. "That’s why I’m introducing legislation that will require the U.S. Soccer Federation to pay the men’s and women’s national soccer teams equitably before any federal funds may be used for the 2026 World Cup."
Several other Democrats, some of whom are running for president, sided with the USWNT players.
The @USWNT proved even before their World Cup win yesterday that they have what it takes to succeed. They generate more revenue than the men’s team and now hold the record for most FIFA Women’s World Cup wins. The world is watching — it’s time they were paid what they deserve.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 8, 2019
Ahead of Wednesday's ticker tape parade through New York City, Mayor Bill De Blasio said if he was elected president, he'd pass an executive order to make sure the Treasury Department shells out what the women are owed, and he'd enforce the Paycheck Fairness Act. But no one, he said, has put it into better words than U.S. player Megan Rapinoe, one of the (controversial) stars of this year's tournament.
When Rapinoe was shaking hands with FIFA President Gianni Infantino after winning Sunday's championship match in Lyon, France, she accepted an invitation to have a "conversation" with him, she told the press. As she later said on ABC's "Good Morning America," it's time to take action.
It sounded like she and her teammates had the support of the entire stadium on Sunday. The fans in Stade de Lyon booed Infantino and chanted, "equal pay!" after the whistle blew and the U.S. became world champions again.