Published: Wed, July 10, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Senator introduces USWNT equal pay bill after letter from NCAA coach

Senator introduces USWNT equal pay bill after letter from NCAA coach

The USWNT, which won its fourth World Cup crown on Sunday, has been fighting for equal pay for some time.

For Rapinoe and other veterans of the US women's team, New York's Canyon of Heroes is familiar ground: They were treated to a parade there in 2015, after their last World Cup win.

Senator Joe Manchin on Tuesday introduced a bill to the U.S. Senate that, if passed, would see the federal government withhold funding for the 2026 World Cup until U.S. Soccer "agrees to provide equitable pay" to both the U.S. men's and women's teams.

In 1994, when the United States first hosted the World Cup, relatively little spending was needed to get the country ready to host the event. That support includes money for host cities, participating state or local agencies, the U.S. Soccer Federation, Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), and Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, was inspired to sponsor the legislation after receiving a letter from West Virginia University's women's soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown, asking for his support for the US Women's National Team's pursuit of equal pay, he said in a statement.

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On Sunday, the day of the USA women's national team's victory, a team spokeswoman released a statement that read: "At this moment of tremendous pride for America, the sad equation remains all too clear, and Americans won't stand for it anymore".

The most recent ticker-tape parade was held in 2015, when the U.S. women last won the World Cup.

Of hearing the "Equal pay!" chants coming from the stands in Lyon, she said: "I think we knew that this win, if we were able to win, was going to be bigger than soccer, but that moment just solidified everything".

The Mountaineers' head coach for almost a quarter century, Nikki Izzo-Brown wrote the missive to senator Joe Manchin following the USWNT's fourth World Cup title, and Manchin is taking a political step in response. A lawsuit was filed by five players in 2016, with another filed by all 28 members of the team in the months leading up to the 2019 World Cup. It was the most-viewed match this season and was a 22 percent increase over last year's World Cup men's final between France and Croatia, which averaged 11.44 million. The women's games have also garnered higher ratings and more revenue in recent years.

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