Players’ union tells FIFA: We want WC equal pay

The global professional football players’ union FIFPRO has written to FIFA calling for parity in conditions, facilities and prize money between the men’s and women’s World Cups.

The letter, seen by ESPN, was sent by FIFPRO to FIFA president Gianni Infantino in October, a month before the start of the men’s 2022 World Cup. News of the letter was first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, just four months ahead of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

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The players argue that the much smaller prize money offered for the women’s tournament “impacts how countries will disproportionately prioritize their efforts to support the men’s national team over the women’s national team” and “perpetuates the attitude of women’s football being a ‘cost’ rather than a contributor” to the sport. “This is because the same effort and achievement do not yield the same reward,” the letter says.

FIFPRO called for three proposals. First, it asks for an equal framework of “regulations and conditions” for both the men’s and women’s World Cups, including parity on prize money. The second proposal calls for at least 30% of the prize money to go to the players competing in the tournament — highlighting how some federations do not have an agreement in place with their players over monetary compensation or distribution of prize money. Thirdly, it asks for a collective agreement by means of protecting these commitments.

Regarding the first point, FIFPRO is looking for equality between the men’s and women’s tournaments in terms of travel conditions, training venues and facilities. It also highlights how from the men’s 2018 World Cup and 2019 Women’s World Cup, female players earned just under 7% of what their male counterparts collected.

The crux of the letter refers to FIFA’s statement that the women’s game is the “single biggest growth opportunity in football” and hopes an increase in prize money will help boost the level of women’s domestic football around the world.

A statement from FIFPRO read: “We can confirm a letter signed by 150 players from national teams on every continent was sent to FIFA in October. These players are seeking equitable conditions before the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. FIFPRO is currently negotiating with FIFA on behalf of these players.”

Sources at FIFA told ESPN it is aware of the letter and an announcement will be made shortly on prize money at the Women’s World Cup.

U.S. women’s team star Alex Morgan told ESPN: “”We’re an ally with FIFPro and we are fighting for the same thing as them clearly. Everyone saw with our settlement with U.S. Soccer that we do have equal pay, including prize money, which is a huge step forward. And I believe we are possibly one of the only federations in the world to take that step.

“Actually, the U.S. women’s national team is not a part of FIFPro, I think because of just Union or Association rules. But we are all aligned with them, and we do have regular meetings with FIFPro and are on the same page with what they put out.”

A total of $440 million was allocated by FIFA as prize money at the men’s World Cup, with Argentina collecting $42m for winning the tournament. In 2019, FIFA tabled $30m prize money for the Women’s World Cup that year in France, with the USWNT taking home $4m.

The FIFPRO letter added: “As national team players, we want to leave women’s football in better shape than we found it; we want the next generation to enjoy better conditions and competitive opportunities than we did.”

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