May 18, 2022

Wow. The U.S. men’s and women’s national soccer teams struck a labor deal that closes the contentious pay gap between the squads. The unprecedented deal equalizes both salaries and bonuses. The deal was part of new collective bargaining agreements with the U.S. Soccer Federation announced this morning. Via The Washington Post:

It was the culmination of a long battle between the women’s team and the sport’s national governing body, which included a high-profile lawsuit that was settled this year. The USSF said the agreement makes the United States the first country to achieve equal pay for its men’s and women’s soccer teams. “To finally get to the point where on every economic term it’s equal pay, I am just really proud,” USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone said. The new CBAs will equalize World Cup bonuses, something Parlow Cone said no other nation had done.

The U.S. teams will pool the World Cup bonuses received from FIFA and split them equally, evening out a substantially unequal playing field set by the global soccer organization. “It’s going to be game-changing for what women’s football looks like in general,” women’s national team forward Margaret Purce said. “It’s historic, and I think it’s going to trigger a lot of other things in the sport, not just in the United States but globally.”

Until now, the U.S. men had earned much larger World Cup bonuses than the four-time champion women, even in years when the men didn’t advance out of the tournament’s group stage. FIFA pays much larger sums to men’s teams, citing the fact that the men’s tournament generates substantially more revenue. FIFA will continue to pay out more to federations for participation in the men’s tournament than the women’s. But under the new CBAs, the federation will no longer pass along tournament-specific bonuses to each squad.

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