One of the biggest conversations that’s surfaced during and since the World Cup has been about equal pay—or, more accurately, the lack thereof—in professional sports. Many people online are angry at the gaps between men and women; and, to be sure, the numbers give equal pay advocates plenty to be angry about.

However, there are many different factors at play, and debate over why exactly the pay gap exists. We definitely can’t settle that debate today, but we can hopefully clarify a few things and set the stage of what we know for sure.

By the way, the Washington Post did a very good analysis on this for some in-depth reading, and it’s their findings that I am summarizing below. You should DEF give it a read.

First things first, we need to differentiate between the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and FIFA in this pay discussion. Both play a role here, but in different ways. It’s FIFA that sets the total pool amount for the World Cup winning team, and then the USSF distributes it to the players when the USA wins. For the women, the pool was $30 million, and the champions walked away with $4 million of it. For the men, the pool was $400 million, with $38 million going to the champs. So, there’s no question there’s a HUGE gap in World Cup pay between men and women.

pay gap comparison chart

Here are the questions that still remain.

Question one: how much responsibility does the USSF bear in this, and how much can they blame on FIFA? There’s a lawsuit to try to get to the bottom of this right now between the women’s players and the USSF, so we shall see.

Question two: Do the men bring in more money, and therefore deserve to take home more? This one’s a bit harder to answer. Here in the US, the Washington Post analysis found that the women have closed the revenue gap at games and have brought in about the same as the men since 2016. Globally, though, it’s a different story. Men’s soccer still brings in more money around the world; and, for that matter, some countries still don’t even a team for the women to play on, which is another discussion entirely.



Want to know "WHAS up" with something? Rob Harris is your guy. He's talking to some of the smartest people in our community to find out more about science, history, urban legends, local quirks, and more.

Have a question or topic you want him to check out? Send him a tweet or a Facebook post.