Just as FIFA President Gianni Infantino made his way towards the field for the postgame ceremonies, the enthusiastic crowd made their demands.
Shortly after the U.S. soccer team emerged victorious in their final leg of the 2019 World Cup Championship, the effervescent crowd present inside the Stade de Lyon, France echoed in unison the chant "equal pay!" Gender discrimination in the pay of players has long been a topic of dispute and on Sunday, FIFA President Gianni Infantino was provided a deafening reminder of the same after the US women's national team successfully beat the Netherlands 2-0 in the final match of the tournament.
While the gender pay gap has been a prevalent factor plaguing the women's soccer team for ages, several players in recent years have brought this discrimination to the forefront. They have been vocal about their demands of parity from the international governing body of soccer, FIFA. And in reaction to this pervasive injustice avid football fans are seen chanting "equal pay" in videos, as Infantino and French President Emmanuel Macron made their way towards the field for the postgame ceremonies.
To understand the extent of this pay gap, one needs to look at the stark difference between the prize money allocated for the men and the women team. According to The New York Times, the women's soccer team was awarded $30 million as prize money, whereas their male counterparts had a lump sum amount of $400 million available during the 2018 World Cup for men. Battling the same discrimination, 28 members of the 2015 women's football team sued the US Soccer Federation in the hope to get the desired results.
Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe were are few of the members who filed this lawsuit against the governing body for not providing the equal pay the team deserved despite their similar working conditions to the men. While the women's team had been doing an amazing job by winning the World Cup for the second consecutive time, the men, on the other hand, did not even qualify for last year's World Cup. Even the ratings that the female team successfully accumulated were higher than the opposite sex's team.
And also generate more money than the mens team https://t.co/NJecxs0d7P— Emma Morgan (@Emma_km_Morgan) July 8, 2019
As CNBC points out, the women's soccer team has spawned more revenue as compared to the men in the past three years. Statistics show how women's games have generated $50.8 million from 2016-2018, whereas men's matches only show $49.9 million. Now, with the US women's soccer brilliant performance which added a second consecutive world title and the fourth championship to its name, people all around could not help but voice their concerns without any hesitation.
Except for the fact the over time the men’s national team has brought in more revenue, but right now the women bring in more. https://t.co/DnOdnPfh3f— Dr. Sam (@samisadancer) July 8, 2019
The spokesperson for the US women's national team players in their equal pay lawsuit, Molly Levinson, said in a statement, "At this moment of tremendous pride for America, the sad equation remains all too clear, and Americans won’t stand for it anymore." Continuing her grief at the prevailing discrimination, she said, "These athletes generate more revenue and garner higher tv ratings but get paid less simply because they are women. It is time for the Federation to correct this disparity once and for all."
From 2016 to 2018, women’s games generated about $50.8 million in revenue vs $49.9 million for the men, according to U.S. soccer’s audited financial statements. In 2016, the year after the World Cup, the women generated $1.9 million more than the men. https://t.co/CXV5CdBN0F https://t.co/CARQ3KnQaV— lori montgomery (@loriamontgomery) June 29, 2019
As Infantino took the center of the field to congratulate the winning team, the chants resounded stronger than ever. According to the Huffington Post, Infantino put forward a proposal to double the prize money of the women who contend at the World Cup, however, the doubled amount would still be a far cry from what the men pocket. There were other official members who did raise their concerns on this matter just a few days before the final match. A letter addressing the president of US Soccer was written by 50 members of Congress demanding an explanation for the difference in pay scale despite having the same job.
Further revealing their disappointment, the letter read: The inequities that these women champions have faced as members of the USWNT are indefensible." Debating the matter further, the lawmakers pointed at the fact that the "three-time world championship winning team received $1.725 million for winning the 2015 World Cup, just one-third of the $5.375 million that the US Soccer awarded the men's team for losing in the 16 round of the Men's World Cup.
It also stated the $30,000 difference in the players' basic pay which when calculated with the bonuses easily comes up to a 38% reduction for women, as compared to the male players. "These disparities are particularly questionable given that US women’s games generated more total revenue than U.S. men’s games over the last three years," added the letter. Joining the congressmen in their views the Twitterverse demanded the same for the women's team:
Not going to lie, seeing people in the stands chanting this en masse, not just tweeting it, brought tears to my eyes. You're GD right they deserve equal pay! ...at the very least! #USNWT #WorldCup2019 #EqualPay #PlayLikeAGirl #ScoreLikeAGirl #WinLikeAGirl— Rogue Phoenix ⚖ 🏳️🌈🌊 (@LeoLawGirl) July 7, 2019
It’s insanely fucked up that not only does the #USWNT make less money and play better, but they also make @ussoccer WAY more money.— Travis Helwig (@travishelwig) July 7, 2019
2019 forecasted profit for #USWNT: over $5 million
2019 forecasted profit for the men: negative $1 million
Can we finally pay them well now? Asking for millions of friends.— Justin Fleenor 🔁 (@JustinFleenor) July 7, 2019
I see 0 valid reason to pay US Women's Nat'l Team the same as the US Men's Nat'l team b/c:— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@QasimRashid) July 7, 2019
•4 World Cups
•4 Olympic Golds
•0 World Cups
•0 Olympic Golds
Pay USWNT *Multiple Times* of what USMNT is paid
THAT would be the fair & just thing to do✊🏾#WorldCupFinal