World Cup prize money continues to be a sticking point for equality in soccer, despite the historic equal pay agreement between U.S. Soccer and its men's and women's teams.
Earlier this year, the U.S. national teams decided to split prize money, which means that the haul from playing in the sport's most prestigious tournaments will be distributed equally between players for both teams — after the federation takes a cut off the top.
It was a landmark agreement, hailed as an important step for equality even beyond sports. But other nations haven't followed suit.
At the heart of the matter is the huge disparity in prize money between the men's and women's tournaments — and how it is eventually passed on by federations to their players.
FIFA has earmarked $440 million in prize money for this year’s men’s World Cup. The winner in Qatar will take home $42 million.
The U.S. women won $4 million from a $30 million pot at the 2019 Women's World Cup. FIFA president Gianni Infantino has proposed doubling the prize money for the 2023 event, but the field has expanded from 24 to 32 teams.
That could change. FIFA secretary-general Fatma Samoura recently suggested that the final prize money total for the women could be greater.
“Today, the men’s World Cup is the one that is funding all the FIFA competitions, including the Women’s World Cup. But we have seen new trends in terms of revenues,” she said at an event in Sydney.
Some countries — including Australia, Ireland, Brazil, Norway and others — have made significant strides toward equal match and appearance fees, but an equal division of pooled World Cup prize money hasn't been part of those deals.
Brazil announced equal pay for its men's and women's teams in 2020 but the agreement pays the women a “proportionately equal” amount —...