Following Historic Win in Women’s World Cup, Leahy Unveils Senate Resolution Calling For Award Equity For Female Soccer Athletes

WASHINGTON (Monday, July 13, 2015) – The 2015 Women’s World Cup drew international attention and record-breaking audiences, yet the female athletes who competed this year were compensated far less than their male counterparts.  Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) spoke out against this pay inequity Monday, and unveiled a resolution calling on the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to immediately eliminate gender discrimination between male and female athletes.

“The United States women’s soccer team and all World Cup champions should be rewarded for their performance, for their grit, and for their teamwork, rather than devalued for their gender,” Leahy said. 

Leahy introduced a Senate resolution calling on FIFA to immediately eliminate gender pay inequity between male and female athletes.  The need to correct this unfair disparity is underscored by the fact that the Women’s World Cup winner — the United States — was awarded $2 million after beating Japan in a soccer match that drew 25 million viewers just in the U.S. alone.  By comparison, the 2014 Men’s World Cup winner — Germany — was awarded $35 million for its win over Argentina. 

FIFA’s policy is not just discriminatory; it is far outdated compared to other sports championships.  Wimbledon – tennis’s top prize – finally implemented an equal prize payment structure for all athletes in 2007, and as a result, U.S. tennis player Serena Williams will be awarded the same prize money for winning the women’s final this weekend as her male counterpart.  Leahy said it is time for all sports to match this basic ideal of equal pay for equal work.

“Wimbledon chose to be on the right side of history in 2007 by ensuring pay equity for female and male athletes,” Leahy said.  “I hope the story of the American Women’s World Cup champions not receiving fair treatment by FIFA will inspire more people to join the fight for equal prize awards.   With this resolution that I introduce today, let the Senate be on record in support of fair treatment for all World Cup champions as we urge FIFA to change its policy, just as the All England Club did years ago.” 

The Senate resolution is available online.

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