- Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia introduced a bill that would block federal funding for the 2026 World Cup unless the US Soccer Federation provides “equitable pay” for both the men’s and women’s national teams.
- The US Women’s National Soccer Team won their fourth World Cup title on Sunday.
- Women’s players have been demanding better pay, which is considerably lower than men’s in tournaments and individual exhibition matches.
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Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia introduced a bill Tuesday that would block federal funding for the upcoming 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup unless the US Soccer Federation provides “equitable pay” for both the men’s and women’s national teams.
In addition to FIFA, the bill includes language to bar US federal dollars from going to US Soccer and the United States’ regional governing body, the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).
The legislation, if it were to become law, would implement equal pay that the players on the women’s team have been demanding for some time. The team won their fourth World Cup on Sunday, renewing calls for equal pay.
The bill’s language is not exactly clear on what equitable pay would look like and whether that would only apply to certain matches or tournaments.
Manchin introduced the bill after the head coach of the women’s soccer team at West Virginia University wrote a letter to him addressing concerns about professional level play.
“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.”
“The clear unequitable pay between the U.S. men’s and women’s soccer teams is unacceptable and I’m glad the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team latest victory is causing public outcry,” he added. “They are the best in the world and deserve to be paid accordingly. I’m encouraging everyone to call their Senator and Representatives to help us get this bill passed and finally create a level playing field for all.”
The 2026 men’s World Cup is going to be hosted by the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The bulk of the venues for games, especially in the later stages of the tournament, are scheduled to take place in the US. The host nations also receive an automatic bid in the World Cup, which could benefit both the US and Canada, which failed to qualify in 2018.
Currently, the pot size for men’s World Cup champions is considerably larger than women’s, maxing out at $400 million and $30 million, respectively.
The US Women’s team have been involved in a lawsuit against US Soccer demanding equal pay. Female players have cited higher individual game revenues than men’s, among other successes.