Senate bill would block men’s World Cup soccer funds until women’s team gets equal pay

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin introduced a bill Tuesday to withhold federal funds for the men’s World Cup unless the women’s team receives equal pay.

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's latest victory is causing a public outcry. They are the best in the world and deserve to be paid accordingly," Manchin said in a press release on his website.

The legislation would prevent federal funds from being used for the 2026 World Cup in the United States until the U.S. Soccer Federation pays the men's and women's teams equally, Manchin said.

“This would include any and all funds provided to host cities; participating local and state organizations; the U.S. Soccer Federation, Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).”

He said he decided to introduce the bill after an appeal from West Virginia University women's soccer head coach 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.

The women’s team beat the Netherlands 2-0 in the World Cup final Sunday for their second consecutive title and World Cup win overall, yet women’s team members are still paid 30% less than their male counterparts, including bonuses.

From 2016 to 2018, the women’s team has generated $50.8 million in revenue compared to $49.9 million from the men’s team, CNBC reported.

In March, the 28-member team filed a lawsuit against their employer, the United States Soccer Federation, alleging the organization is violating the U.S. Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by continuing to pay their male counterparts significantly more.

The U.S. federation has denied the allegations, contending any difference in pay are due to "aggregate revenue generated by the different teams and/or any other factor other than sex," the Detroit Free Press reported.

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