For the first time, football players representing the men’s and women’s national teams in the United States will receive the same salary and prize money, including in the World Cup Finals, under historic agreements with the NFL that will end years of litigation and bitter public disagreements over what constitutes ” equal pay.”
The revised pay structures are part of the collective bargaining agreements with each team that were announced on Wednesday, three months after a batch of the women’s team’s top players. Settlement of a gender discrimination lawsuit Against American football and six months before the men’s team Set to take the field in the World Cup in Qatar.
In addition to guaranteeing the same salaries for men and women players for participation in international matches, the deals include a clause believed to be the first of its kind, through which teams will pool the disproportionate payments they receive from FIFA, which rules world football. Authority to participate in the World Cup. Starting with the 2022 Men’s World Cup and the 2023 Women’s World Cup, these funds will be shared equally between members of both teams.
“No other country has done this before,” US Soccer President Cindy Barlow-Cohn said of the World Cup payments equalization deal. “I think everyone should be really proud of what we have accomplished here. It is truly historic.”
Sharing the prize money is a notable concession by the American men, who previously accounted for the bulk of the multi-million dollar payments the American soccer team receives from FIFA every time the team plays in the World Cup. The agreement to pool money with the women also removed what players and federation officials had long agreed to be the single biggest obstacle to resolving the pay equity debate. It’s a potentially big win for the women’s team, whose World Cup prize pool is a fraction of that paid to men’s teams every four years.
Under the new deals, which run through 2028 and cover the next four World Cups, dozens of top men’s and women’s players have been told in in-house presentations reviewed by The New York Times that they can expect to receive average annual payments of about $450,000 from the states. United. Football – and perhaps more than double that in the successful World Cup years.
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said Midge Purce, a member of the women’s union’s collective bargaining committee.
“But my dad always said to me, ‘You don’t get rewarded for doing what you’re supposed to do,'” she added. “And equal pay for men and women is what you’re supposed to do.”
The difference in compensation between men and women has been one of the most contentious issues in football in recent years, especially after American women won back-to-back World Cup tournaments, in 2015 and 2019, and men failed to qualify for the 2018 tournament. Over the years, the women’s team has made , which features some of the world’s most famous athletes, has ramped up and amplified his fight in court filings, media interviews and At the best stage of their sport.
The feud has always been a complex issue, with different contractsUneven prize money and other financial evasions cloud the pay differentials between the men’s and women’s teams and complicate the ability of national governing bodies such as US Soccer to resolve disputes.
However, the union eventually adhered to a more just system. To achieve this, US Soccer will distribute millions of additional dollars to its best players through a complex calculation of increased match bonuses, pooled prize money, and new revenue-sharing agreements that will give each team a slice of the tens of millions of dollars in commercial revenue that American football receives every A year of sponsors, broadcasters and other partners.
Labor peace would be costly: American football has committed to making single-game payments for most matches of $18,000 per player for games won, and up to $24,000 per game for victories in certain major leagues—boosting the standing of men and women in the United States. Two of the highest paid national teams in the world. The Federation will waive 90 percent of the funds it receives from FIFA to compete in the World Cup for men and women players on those teams; Based on past performances and union expectations, this could result in a combined prize pool of more than $20 million as soon as next year.
But despite its cost, the new equal wages policy is of immeasurable value to all concerned, as it will end a six-year battle that has damaged the reputation of the Union; Threatened American football’s relations with important sponsors; Millions of dollars were spent in legal fees on every side of the fight.
While the two sides quarreled in courtrooms and negotiating sessions, the quarrel also sometimes led to stinging exchanges about personal privacyAnd Equality in the workplace And basic equitydrew support (and second guess) from a disparate chorus of presidential candidatesAnd star athletes And Hollywood Famous – Not all of them are supportive From the Women’s Campaign for Equal Pay.
Resolving the dispute amicably, rather than in court, can make it easier for the federation to attract new sponsors and rebuild ties with its most prominent players. By giving teams a share of their commercial revenue, US Soccer has essentially incentivized its biggest stars to work as partners in finding new ways to increase these revenue streams.
“There is no denying that the money we have to pay our national teams is money that has not been reinvested in the game,” Kohn said when asked about the effects of the new contracts on the broader mission of American football. And people can take that perspective. But the way I look at it is that our job is to try to figure out how the three groups can work together to grow the pie so that everyone benefits.”
Kuhn and representatives from both teams said the agreements provided a model for those looking to restructure a multibillion-dollar sports industry where generational benefits still flow disproportionately to male athletes and bodybuilders.
“These agreements have forever changed the game here in the United States,” Kuhn said. “And they have the potential to change the game around the world.”
However, while resolving the equal pay battle will have enormous symbolic and financial value in the United States, it is unclear whether the new deals will be more ambitious than globally replicable.
Since American women began pressing their fight for equal pay in 2016, the soccer leagues have been a Norway to Australia to Holland They moved to pay their national teams more evenly. But all of those deals sought to equalize match-day wage rates that are well below the figures that American football pays to its top teams. And they all avoided the biggest wage gap in football: the huge difference in World Cup bonuses that FIFA pays to men and women. The 24 teams competed in the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, for example, for a prize pool of $30 million; The 32 men’s teams that will compete in Qatar in November will split $450 million.
Negotiated settlement becomes the only way to achieve equal pay in 2020 after a federal judge Denial of basic claims From a group of high-profile female players who have sued the federation for gender discrimination. Kohn, a former women’s national team player who recently served as the United States Volunteer Soccer Chair, greeted the decision with an olive branch at the time, and lobbied for settlement talks to resume. But it increased pressure on men’s players to help bridge that gap last fall when American football said You will not agree to new contracts with either team Which did not equal the World Cup awards.
Walker Zimmerman, a defender on the men’s team and captain in his players’ union, said he and his teammates at the time came to the realization that “there was no other way to get this done.” He admitted that persuading his teammates to ratify the deals that were eventually struck “wasn’t always the easiest”.
“Trying to express what you think should happen, what is possible, what is right — these conversations are difficult,” Zimmerman said. “But in the end you have a group of guys and women who come together and get it done.”
Despite Wednesday’s détente spirit, the payouts for American men and women will still be wholly unequal: Injuries, coaching decisions and even the number of games each team plays will continue to affect what individual players can earn. But for the first time, both the teams and the federation will be able to agree that the pay rate, at least, will be equal.
“We still have two separate contracts, but everything is economically exactly the same,” Kohn said.
For the most prominent American players, the deal could soon provide an immediate payday by opening a $24 million settlement, Pretty much for the late pay, which they reached with US Soccer in February to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit. US Soccer has made this one-time payment conditional on new collective bargaining agreements that formalize pay equity between the two teams.
With new deals approved, US Soccer can now get a judge’s approval to start cutting checks.