Democratic Reps. Doris Matsui of California and Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut on Tuesday introduced a bill to block federal funding for the 2026 men’s World Cup, to be co-hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada, until the U.S. Women’s National Team receives “fair and equitable wages compared to the US men’s team” from the U.S. Soccer Federation.
The bill is the latest move by a Democratic Party rushing to embrace the U.S. women’s soccer team for its performance on and off the field.
The players often used their platform to discuss their fight for equal pay, and divisive star Megan Rapinoe made waves for her national anthem protests against President Donald Trump and her refusal to visit what she called “the f—ing White House.”
The House bill comes only weeks after Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., introduced similar legislation in the Senate.
Both threaten to hold the men’s World Cup hostage in support of the women’s murky battle for better pay, although it is unclear exactly how much federal funding the World Cup will require.
For most countries, World Cup hosting duties tend to be expensive, with quite a few of those dollars going toward stadium construction and renovation. Russia put forth $14 billion to host in 2018, and its responsibilities included building seven new stadiums and renovating five others.
The United States, however, already boasts over 120 stadiums that meet FIFA’s World Cup size requirements.
Regardless, the Democrats see this as an opportunity to grandstand by turning an economic issue into a political one.
Back in March, the USWNT filed a lawsuit against the Soccer Federation, citing unrealistic hypothetical claims to demonstrate perceived gender discrimination. It is worth noting that the women negotiated and signed a collective bargaining agreement separate from the men’s team. As a result, their pay is structured completely differently.
These differences perfectly demonstrate how the free market works. Male players only earn bonuses, which is risky, but it means their best-case scenario vastly outweighs that of their female counterparts. The women earn a steady base salary with benefits, which prioritizes security over a lucrative payday.
Market forces don’t only exist in the collective bargaining agreement, however. They also determine the revenue that each squad brings in.
In their lawsuit, the female players noted that they generated more money for the federation from 2016 to 2018, conveniently ignoring the fact that they played 14 more home games during that span. Since the women are not primarily paid on a game-by-game basis, this discrepancy in games played is not reflected in their paychecks. They signed a deal to ensure that.
When the number of games played is closer and multiple World Cup cycles (every four years) are included, the revenue for the men’s team almost triples that of the women’s. It’s purely market forces at play.
That hasn’t stopped these on the left from claiming sexism and embracing the U.S. women’s team as beacons of social justice.
Reps. Matsui and DeLauro are simply furthering their cause to entangle the federal government into an economic issue.
The big loser is capitalism.
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