Senate Republicans Block Leahy Resolution Calling For Equal Pay For Female Soccer Athletes

WASHINGTON (Thursday, October 29, 2015) – Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked a commonsense resolution authored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) calling on the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to eliminate gender discrimination between male and female athletes.

Leahy first introduced the resolution in July, after the United States women’s soccer team was awarded just $2 million after beating Japan in the Women’s World Cup championship.  By comparison, the 2014 Men’s World Cup winner, Germany, was awarded $35 million for its win over Argentina.  Leahy’s resolution calls for FIFA to end its discriminatory prize structure and provide equal awards for male and female athletes. 

The Republicans’ move to block passage of the resolution came just days after the U.S. women’s soccer team was recognized at the White House for their World Cup victory.

“It is a shame that in the Senate, we cannot even agree to pass a resolution that calls for the equal treatment of male and female athletes.  If we cannot even pass a non-binding resolution, how can we ever achieve real pay equity for women?” Leahy said.

He added:  “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.  We should stand together in support of these athletes and all female athletes.”

Leahy pointed out that FIFA’s policy is not just discriminatory; it is far outdated compared to other sports championships.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, male and female players are awarded the same prize money for winning their respective championships.

Leahy urged Republicans to reconsider their unfounded objection and to support legislation that promotes pay equity.

“Taking an overdue but important step toward pay equity will send a resounding message not just to women and girls, but also to men and boys across the world,” he said.  Equal pay for equal work should not just be an ideal we strive for, but a reality.”  

The Leahy resolution is available online.

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