US Women’s World Cup star Megan Rapinoe did not hold back on Saturday when she fielded questions about the increase in World Cup prize pay disparity that is set to happen between the men’s and women’s game in 2021.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino wants to double the prize money for the top international competition in women’s soccer to $60 million. While on the outside this may look like progress, the men’s World Cup scheduled for Qatar in two years will see an increase in prize money to $440 million. The disparity will increase by an astounding $380 million.
“It certainly is not fair,” said Rapinoe when asked by the press. “We should double it now and then use that number to double it or quadruple it for the next time.”
Rapinoe has been on the front line during this World Cup and in recent years as the women’s game looks for major support from big money backers and federations. She has vocally criticized FIFA and US Soccer for their shortcomings both domestically and internationally. The money issue is one that brings many of the complaints to the forefront.
“That is what I mean when we talk about: ‘Do we feel respected?’ Earlier in the year, a quote came out where I said FIFA doesn’t care about the women’s game. That’s what I mean. If you really care about each game in the same way, are you letting the gap grow.”
In recent years the fight for support from FIFA has been a strain. Just four years ago the fight to have games played on actual grass was an issue that the men’s World Cup would never need to concern themselves with. Now, it is a fight for respect when ratings, ticket sales and eyeballs have increased far more on the US Women’s team than with the men.
“I’m not saying that the prize money is $450 million this time or next time around. I understand that for a lot of different reasons the men’s game, financially, is far more advanced than the women’s game but if you really care, you’re letting the gap grow?”
Thus far the off-the-field battle for their place in the sporting world hasn’t affected the on-the-field product. Tomorrow the US Women’s National Team goes for their fourth World Cup championship and their second in a row against Netherlands. Thus far they have impressively dispatched Spain, France and England in the knockout stages and are heavy favorites against the Netherlands.