The U.S. men’s national soccer team earned a payout of at least $13 million by advancing to the knockout stage of the World Cup Tuesday. But they’ll only be keeping half their winnings thanks to a deal with the women’s squad.
Gender equity isn’t always equal.
When the U.S. men beat Iran 1-0 to advance to the round of 16 for the first time since 2014, they also scored at least $13 million in prize money.
The U.S. could increase its earnings to $17 million by defeating the Netherlands on Saturday and to $42 million by taking home the championship trophy.
- By contrast, the U.S. women’s national soccer team won just $4 million for its 2019 World Cup victory.
- The pay gap reflects a huge difference in the total prize money for the men’s ($440 million) and women’s ($30 million) tournaments.
The women’s team lost a 2019 lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation alleging unequal pay and gender discrimination, but the men’s team agreed to split all future prize money anyway.
- The resulting collective bargaining agreement was finalized in May.
- USSF also paid 28 current and former women’s soccer players a total of $24 million to settle a separate gender discrimination lawsuit in February.
As a result of the deal, each member of the U.S. men’s team will give half of the $588,000 they secured Tuesday to their female counterparts.
- The agreement would cost the male players $822,000 each if they defied the odds and won the World Cup.
THE LAST WORD
“If there is more interest in a men’s sport, the business people, the people who make money off of sports, will put that on television because we live in a capitalist society,” CNN host Don Lemon said on his morning show Thursday. “And if people are interested in [women’s soccer], then there would be more attention and more money would be paid. So, it‘s about the money.”