By KEVIN DERBY
U.S. plays The Netherlands Sunday in the Women’s World Cup Final
With the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team continuing to shine in the World Cup and scheduled to face The Netherlands in the final on Sunday, two Florida Democrats are taking advantage of the moment to push for the team to be paid more.
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., one of the cochairs of the Congressional Soccer Caucus, wrote to Carlos Cordeiro, the president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, on the matter.
“Despite continuing to break attendance and viewership records, and many times generating more revenue than the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has faced an outsized wage gap compared to their male counterparts,” Castor’s office noted.
Castor wrote Cordeiro on Wednesday.
“I urge you to take the opportunity surrounding the unparalleled success of the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) and remedy the inequities in their compensation and treatment. Doing so would rectify the long-standing unfairness that the USWNT has continued to endure. I have been pressing this issue for years, urged your predecessor to act, and now look to you to take action,” Castor wrote. “Just this year, the team has filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Foundation (USSF). On International Women’s Day, I filed a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives calling for pay equity. You have received a letter from me and several of my colleagues today demanding answers about gender discrimination and unequal pay for the USWNT. What more will it take for our players to receive the recognition and compensation they deserve?
“As the players stated in their lawsuit: ‘The pay for advancement through the rounds of the World Cup was so skewed that, in 2014, the USSF provided the MNT with performance bonuses totaling $5,375,000 for losing in the Round of 16, while, in 2015, the USSF provided the WNT with only $1,725,000 for winning the entire tournament. The WNT earned more than three times less than the MNT while performing demonstrably better,’” Castor wrote before turning her attention to the USWNT’s current run in the Women’s World Cup.
“The facts are overwhelmingly clear and financial reports show that the women’s team has generated more revenue for U.S. Soccer than the men over the last three years. The U.S. 2-1 victory over France on June 28 set a record for the most-watched Women’s World Cup quarterfinal match on U.S. English-language television. FOX drew 6.12 million viewers for Friday’s match, and peaked at 8.24 million. FIFA expects the competition to reach a total of 1 billion viewers across all platforms worldwide. And Nike has stated that the USWNT soccer jersey is the best-selling soccer top ever sold on its website. It is clear that it is long past time that our women start earning equal pay as their counterparts,” Castor wrote.
“I urge you and U.S. Soccer to not only act to rectify the pay inequity for the USWNT, but to urge FIFA to do more to raise the status of women in international soccer. It is reported that FIFA’s cash reserves have soared to a record $2.74 billion. That’s more than enough to take meaningful action to invest in women’s competition and boost pay equity for female players.
The eyes of the world are focused on the skill and determination of the USWNT and we are anxiously awaiting the outcome on Sunday. But we can no longer wait for U.S. Soccer to take action to treat the USWNT fairly,” Castor concluded.
Castor wasn’t the only member of the Florida delegation to write Cordeiro on the matter this week. On Wednesday, the Democratic Women’s Caucus cochairs, including U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., rounded up 50 members of the House to sent a letter to Cordeiro. Signers from Florida included Castor, Frankel and fellow Democrat U.S. Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
“The inequities that these women champions have faced as members of the USWNT are indefensible,” the members wrote. “The U.S. Soccer Federation should work to correct course and close the wage gap so that the only thing women athletes are fighting for is the world title or a gold medal. Instead, the message sent to women and girls is that their skills and accomplishments are of lesser value.”
The Women’s World Cup Championship Final will be played between the United States and The Netherlands in Lyon, France. It can be seen on the FOX TV network at 11 a.m. ET Sunday.