Manchin introduced the new bill on Tuesday.

By Emily Caron
July 09, 2019

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin introduced a bill to Congress on Tuesday that would "prohibit the use of [federal] funds for the 2026 World Cup unless the United States Soccer Federation provides equitable pay to the members of the United States Women's National Team and the United State's Men's National Team," according to the legislation's introduction, as obtained by HuffPost

Any federal funding for the 2026 World Cup–which the U.S. is set to host–would be denied until the women's national team receives equal pay to their male counterparts. The bill would cut off “any and all” federal money that would otherwise be spent when the United States co-hosts the men’s World Cup in 2026. That includes funds that go to host cities, participating local and state organizations, the U.S. Soccer Federation, the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, and FIFA.

“The clear unequitable pay between the U.S. men and women’s soccer teams is unacceptable and I’m glad the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team latest victory is causing public outcry,” Manchin said in a statement. “I’m encouraging everyone to call their Senator and Representatives to help us get this bill passed and finally pay the equitable pay they deserve.”

The USWNT won the Women's World Cup on Sunday with a 2–0 victory over the Netherlands and claimed their fourth World Cup title.

It is worth noting that FIFA frowns upon government interference. The organization has punished federations before for their governments getting involved in soccer affairs. FIFA's own statutes state that member associations must “be independent and avoid any form of political interference."

Manchin, who is from West Virginia, introduced the bill after he received a letter from West Virginia University Women's Soccer head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown which highlighted her worried about players on her team one day making the USWNT and not getting paid the same amount as men.

Her concerns echoed those listed in the federal complaint filed by Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and 25 other players on the U.S. women's national team which accused U.S. Soccer of “institutionalized gender discrimination," which is a violation of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The team's lawsuit asserts that, despite the women's team enjoying considerably more success than the U.S. men’s national team, women's players earn as little as 38% as similarly situated men's players. The players also charge that they are subjected to substantially inferior playing, training and travel conditions.

In its response, U.S. Soccer said it obeyed the law and didn't discriminate against female players.

More than 50 members of Congress wrote to U.S. Soccer after their World Cup win asking to know why players on the U.S. women’s team are still receiving inferior wages, working conditions and investment.

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