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US senator proposes equal pay bill related to 2026 World Cup

US senator Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, has proposed a bill that would prevent federal funding being provided for the 2026 Fifa World Cup until the US women’s national team receives the same level of pay as the men’s team.

The US won its fourth Women’s World Cup with a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands in Lyon, France on Sunday. Following the match, chants of “equal pay” rang out around the stadium.

In March, the US Women’s National Team stepped up its battle with the US Soccer Federation (USSF) for equal pay and working conditions by filing a gender discrimination lawsuit against the governing body. All members of the squad filed the lawsuit, citing “institutionalised gender discrimination”.

The US will co-host the 2026 men’s World Cup alongside Mexico and Canada. The bill propsoed yesterday (Tuesday) by Manchin states that “any and all” federal funding for the competition should be put on hold.

In a statement reported by the Reuters news agency, Manchin said: “The clear unequitable pay between the US men and women’s soccer teams is unacceptable and I’m glad the US Women’s Soccer Team latest victory is causing public outcry. I’m encouraging everyone to call their senator and representatives to help us get this bill passed and finally pay the equitable pay they deserve.”

Reuters noted that Manchin received a letter from Nikki Izzo-Brown, a women’s football coach at West Virginia University, over the equal pay debate, which prompted him to propose the bill.

The bill says that “no federal funds may be appropriated or otherwise made available” to support the 2026 World Cup until the USSF “agrees to provide equitable pay”.