Sen. Joe Manchin introduced a bill to Congress on Tuesday that could have severe implications for the 2026 World Cup if the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) doesn't agree to enforce equal pay for U.S. national teams.
There have been fresh calls for the USWNT to receive equal compensation after winning the Women's World Cup on Sunday.
The Democratic senator said in a statement posted to his website that he was inspired to propose a bill that, if passed, would prohibit federal funding for the 2026 World Cup - set to take place in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico - until the USSF "agrees to provide equitable pay" to the women and men's teams.
"I received a letter from Coach Izzo-Brown highlighting her worries that women on the WVU Women’s Soccer Team could one day make the U.S. women’s team and not get paid the same as the men’s team. That’s just plain wrong," he said.
"That’s why I’m introducing legislation that will require the U.S. Soccer Federation to pay the men’s and women’s national soccer teams equitably before any federal funds may be used for the 2026 World Cup.
"The clear unequitable pay between the U.S. men’s and women’s soccer teams is unacceptable and I’m glad the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team's latest victory is causing public outcry.
"They are the best in the world and deserve to be paid accordingly. I’m encouraging everyone to call their Senator and Representatives to help us get this bill passed and finally create a level playing field for all."
The lawsuit cited years of "institutionalized gender discrimination," according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, per Reuters. Along with pursuing equitable pay, the plaintiffs were also seeking a resolution to alleged injustices regarding travel conditions, quality of medical personnel, promotion of matches, and training facilities considered inadequate compared to their male counterparts.
The USSF reportedly reached a tentative agreement for mediation with the plaintiffs in June to resolve the issues. It's understood that mediation could take place in the near future now that the Women's World Cup has concluded.