Indomitable US Women’s team look to make history off the field in pay battle

World Today

The U.S Women’s football team made sports history on Sunday after winning their fourth World Cup. But they now face a battle for legal history: winning equal pay with their male counterparts.

CGTN’s Owen Fairclough has more.

No other team in the history of women’s football has been as dominant as the U.S.

Their 2-0 victory over the Netherlands for an unprecedented fourth World Cup on Sunday meant they’ve won back to back titles.

But captain Megan Rapinoe and her team-mates must now return home to focus on arguably their toughest challenge off the field.

“I think there needs to be a big investment in the women’s game,” Rapinoe told reporters in Lyon the day after the final.

“So, maybe for once, like God forbid, we would be overpaid. Maybe that could just, maybe that could just happen like one time and then we will see how it goes from there.”

Rapinoe was referring to the lawsuit the team launched in March to sue the U.S. Soccer Federation for equal pay with their male counterparts, who’ve never won the World Cup and didn’t even qualify for the last tournament.

World governing body FIFA has tried to pre-empt the debate by doubling the prize money for the next Women’s World Cup to $60 million – only for the U.S. champions to point out the pot for the men’s tournament will still be more than seven times higher, rising 10 percent to $440 million.

The U.S. women’s lawsuit has the backing of presidential candidates, while President Donald Trump suggested their case should hinge on year-round ratings.

“You have to look at the great stars of the men’s soccer, the great stars of the women’s soccer, and you have to see year-round how are they all drawing?” Trump said.

“What’s the attendance for women’s soccer, outside of the World Cup?”

With the federation expecting a record-breaking one billion viewers for this year’s Women’s World Cup, these champions have helped galvanize a global conversation about gender equality in sport.