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A 366% raise: Prize money for this summer's women's World Cup rises to $110 million

USA TODAY SPORTS 3/16/2023 Nancy Armour, USA TODAY

Even with a substantial increase for this summer’s World Cup, the prize pool for the women’s tournament remains significantly less than it is for the men’s event.

Prize money for the 32-team tournament in Australia and New Zealand will be $110 million, FIFA announced Thursday, more than triple the $30 million awarded at the 24-team World Cup in 2019. The 32 teams in the men’s tournament in Qatar last fall split $440 million.

The prize pool for this year’s World Cup also includes more than $40 million for the participating teams to use in preparation for the tournament, which begins July 20. FIFA said this will ensure conditions at the men’s and women’s tournaments – including accommodations and number of staff members – will be the same.

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“Women deserve much, much more than that and we are there to fight for them and with them,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said at the FIFA Congress in Rwanda.

Achieving parity

Infantino said his goal is to have equal prize money for both the men’s and women’s World Cups in the next cycle. The men’s tournament in 2026 is expanding to 48 teams and is being co-hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada. The host of the women’s tournament in 2027 has not yet been announced.

To do that, however, Infantino said broadcasters are going to have to step up. He has criticized some of FIFA’s media partners, saying they’ve offered 100 times less for rights to the women’s World Cup than they pay for the men’s tournament. Viewership for the women’s tournament, Infantino said, is only about 25% less than for the men’s World Cup.

“Well, offer us 20% less, 50% less. But not 100% less,” Infantino said.

Equal pay fight

Equal pay has long been an issue for female players. The U.S. women famously sued U.S. Soccer three months before the 2019 World Cup began, and chants of “Equal Pay!” Equal Pay!” rang out during the victory celebration for the Americans’ fourth title and second in a row.

Last May, U.S. Soccer reached agreement with both the USWNT and the USMNT on landmark contracts that include an equal split of World Cup prize money. Some countries give their teams the same base salaries, but the United States is the only one that splits prize money from both World Cups equally.

The agreement has led other teams to push for greater parity and FIFPro, the international union for professional soccer players, sent FIFA a letter in October asking for equal conditions at the World Cups. That includes a “pathway to equal prize money.”

“The progress announced today demonstrates the intent of the players and FIFA to work proactively towards greater equity and equality for the industry,” FIFPro said in a statement Thursday.

“The work is not yet done. … The pathway to full equality remains of paramount importance. We await further details from FIFA as we continue to advance the interests of the players and broader industry towards a more professional game for all.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: A 366% raise: Prize money for this summer's women's World Cup rises to $110 million

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