American football equalizes salaries with women and men

Football player Megan Rapinoe waves to the crowd during the second quarter of a WNBA basketball game between the Minnesota Lynx and the Seattle Storm on Friday, May 6, 2022 in Seattle.  Rapinoe's fiancée, Sue Bird, plays for the Storm.  (Jennifer Buchanan/The Seattle Times via AP)

Football player Megan Rapinoe waves to the crowd during the second quarter of a WNBA basketball game between the Minnesota Lynx and the Seattle Storm on Friday, May 6, 2022 in Seattle. Rapinoe’s fiancée, Sue Bird, plays for the Storm. (Jennifer Buchanan/The Seattle Times via AP)


The US Soccer Federation has reached landmark agreements to pay its men’s and women’s teams equally, making the US national governing body the first in the sport to promise both genders an equal amount.

The federation on Wednesday announced separate collective bargaining agreements until December 2028 with unions for the two national teams, ending years of often acrimonious negotiations.

The deals are partly due to a push from the most successful women’s team players, including stars like Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, who were at the forefront of the fight for gender equality while leading the team to a Women’s World Cup championship in 2019. Wrestling has become such a part of the team’s history that chants of “Equal Pay!” Equal pay!” emerged from the crowd as the American players celebrated their victory in France.

Morgan and Rapinoe could still be beneficiaries of the deal, although the next Women’s World Cup will be in 2023 and the squad composition will have changed by then.

“I feel a lot of pride for the girls who are going to see this grow up and recognize their worth rather than having to fight for it. However, my dad always told me that you don’t get rewarded for doing what you’re supposed to. do – and pay men and women equally is what you’re supposed to do,” USA striker Margaret Purce said. “So I’m not giving gold stars, but I’m grateful for that. accomplishment and for all who have come together to make it happen.”

The men played under the terms of a CBA which expired in December 2018. The women’s CBA expired at the end of March, but talks continued after the federation and players agreed to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by some of the 2019 players. The settlement depended on the federation reaching employment contracts equalizing salaries and bonuses between the two teams.

Perhaps the biggest sticking point was the World Cup prize money, which is based on a team’s progress through the tournament. While American women have succeeded on the international stage with back-to-back World Cup titles, FIFA prize money differences mean they have won significantly less than male winners. The Americans received a $110,000 bounty for winning the 2019 World Cup; the American men would have received $407,000 had they won in 2018.

The unions have agreed to pool FIFA payments for the Men’s World Cup later this year and the Women’s World Cup next year, as well as the 2026 and 2027 tournaments.

Each player will receive a corresponding game appearance fee, which the USSF says makes it the first federation to pool FIFA prizes in this way.

“We saw this as an opportunity, an opportunity to be leaders on this front and to join the women’s team and US Soccer, so we’re delighted to have been able to close the deal in this way,” Walker said. Zimmerman, a defenseman who is on the leadership group of the U.S. National Team Players Association.

The women’s union projections call for compensation for a contracted player to rise 34% from 2018 to this year, from $245,000 to $327,000. The 2023-28 average annual salary would be $450,000 for a player making all the rosters, with the possibility of doubling the figure in World Cup years depending on results.

The federation previously based bounties on payments from FIFA, which provided $400 million for the 2018 men’s tournament, including $38 million for the French champion, and $30 million for the 2019 women’s tournament, including $4 million for the United States champion.

FIFA has increased the total to $440 million for the 2022 Men’s World Cup, and its president, Gianni Infantino, has proposed that FIFA double the women’s prize money to $60 million for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, in which FIFA increased the number of teams to 32.

For current World Cup cycles, the USSF will pool funds from FIFA, taking 10% off the top, then splitting the rest equally among 46 players – 23 players on each team’s roster . For the 2026-27 cycle, the USSF reduction increases to 20% before the split.

After missing out on the 2018 World Cup, the men qualified for this year’s World Cup in Qatar from November. The women’s team will be looking to qualify for this year’s 2023 World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

“There were times when I thought it was all going to fall apart and then it all fell back into place and it’s a real honor for all the different groups that have come together, negotiating at one table” , said the president of the federation, Cindy Parlow Cone, a former national team. player who became head of the governing body in 2020. “I think that’s where the turning point really happened. Before trying to negotiate a CBA with women and then turn around and negotiate the CBA conditions with the men and vice versa was really difficult, I think the real turning point was when we finally ended up all in the same room, sitting at the same table, working together and collaborating to achieve this goal. “

The women ended six years of equal pay litigation in February in an agreement asking the USSF to pay $24 million, a deal conditional on the conclusion of new collective agreements.

As part of the settlement, the players will split $22 million, about a third of what they had claimed in damages. The USSF also agreed to create a $2 million fund to benefit female players in their post-football careers and charitable efforts to grow the sport for women.


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