US football authorities are to pay their men and women the same for international competitions, including in their respective World Cups.
The United States Soccer Federation said on Wednesday it will create a mechanism for sharing prize money.
Under the agreements, which run until 2028, US Soccer becomes the first federation in the world to award equal prize money from FIFA World Cups to both women’s and men’s teams.
US Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone said in a statement on the federation’s website: “This is a truly historic moment. These agreements have changed the game forever here in the United States and have the potential to change the game around the world.”
US striker Margaret Purce added: “I feel a lot of pride for the girls who are going to see this growing up, and recognise their value rather than having to fight for it.
“However, my dad always told me that you don’t get rewarded for doing what you’re supposed to do – and paying men and women equally is what you’re supposed to do.
“So I’m not giving out any gold stars, but I’m grateful for this accomplishment and for all the people who came together to make it so.”
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Under the agreement, each player will get matching game appearance fees – despite in general, across the worldwide game, men being paid many times what women are able to earn.
Previously, US players received bonuses based on payments to the US Soccer Federation from FIFA, which earmarked a total of $400m for the 2018 men’s tournament, including $38m to champion France, and a total of $30m for the 2019 women’s tournament, including $4m to the champion, which on that occasion was the United States.
How have the respective teams performed?
Apart from 2002 (Japan) and 1930 (Uruguay), the men’s squad has not got past the last 16, and failed to qualify numerous times, including in 2018.
The women’s team, however, is regarded as one of the best in the world, having won the Women’s World Cup four times, come runners-up once and third three times since it was founded in 1991.
Read more on World Cup 2022:
England drawn against USA and Iran and will face either Wales, Scotland or Ukraine
The World Cup draw: Who has qualified? And who are the favourites?
The cost of the cup: How much has Qatar spent, and on what, to host the World Cup in 2022
For the 2022 World Cup, FIFA has increased the total prize money to $440m, and its president, Gianni Infantino, has proposed that FIFA double the women’s prize money to $60m for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, which now features 32 teams, up from 16.
The men have qualified for this year’s World Cup in Qatar in November. The women’s team will seek to qualify this year for the next Women’s World Cup, which will take place in Australia and New Zealand in 2023.
Child care arrangements extended to men
Also under the agreement, child care, which is already covered for women for more than 25 years, will be extended to men during national team training camps and matches.
The agreement also ensures commercial revenue for US football from the events is shared and aims to improve player health and safety, data privacy and allows players to balance responsibilities to both club and country, the federation said.
The women players’ union in the US had sued for higher pay, calling for at least $24m, but ended their action in February.
Mark Levinstein, lawyer for the men’s union, said the agreement ended “more than 20 years of federation discrimination against the USWNT players”.
“Together with the USWNTPA, the USMNT players achieved what everyone said was impossible,” he added.