Breaking it down: What exactly is the gap in pay between USWNT and USMNT players?
The cheers rang down from the crowd in Lyon, France, on Sunday, as the U.S. women's soccer team celebrated its second consecutive World Cup title: "E-qual pay! E-qual pay!"
The Americans' 2-0 win over the Netherlands may have signified the end of the 2019 World Cup, but star winger Megan Rapinoe quickly turned the game into part of the ongoing push for equal pay in the sport.
"Everyone is kind of asking what’s next and what we want to come of all this," Rapinoe said, according to The Associated Press. "It’s to stop having the conversation about equal pay, are we worth it, the investment piece. … It’s time to kind of sit down with everyone and really get to work."
More than two dozen women's soccer players filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer in March, and the two sides will pursue mediation in the coming weeks and months. But what exactly is the gap in pay between men and women, both within U.S. Soccer and across the sport? And does it correlate with results?
Megan Rapinoe, right, celebrates with teammates Alex Morgan and Sam Mewis after scoring a goal on a penalty kick against the Netherlands in the World Cup title match. (Photo: Michael Chow, USA TODAY Sports)
Here's a quick breakdown of the fight for equal pay in American soccer.
How are the players paid?
At the heart of the fight for equal pay is a difference in how men and women who play for the U.S. national soccer team are paid.
The U.S. Soccer Federation wrote in a court filing that the two groups are paid differently due to differences in their collective-bargaining agreements. The men collectively bargained for what the federation calls a "pay-for-play" structure that is incentive-laden. The women's collective bargaining agreement includes guaranteed salaries and benefits.
According to The Washington Post, which cited copies of both agreements, female U.S. soccer players can sign contracts that provide an annual salary of $100,000 and additional bonuses for wins and ties. The men do not get annual salaries, but they get larger bonuses per game — including a guarantee of $5,000 even if they lose.
Under these structures, according to the newspaper, a female player who played (and won) 20 exhibition matches would receive just 89% of what a male player would get under the exact same circumstances. If both players lost all 20 matches instead, the payment would be the same for both groups: $100,000.
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What's a World Cup win worth?
The World Cup payout has less to do with U.S. Soccer and more to do with FIFA, the sport's governing body.
According to FIFA's 2018 Financial Report, the organization awarded $400 million in total prize money to participating soccer federations for the 2018 World Cup. Portions of those funds are generally then passed along to players. The team that won the event, France, received $38 million from FIFA.
According to the same report, FIFA was slated to award $30 million in total prize money for the 2019 World Cup, with the champion — the U.S. — netting $4 million. That's 10.5% of what the men's World Cup champions received.
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