This year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup will go down in history. The number of teams competing this year doubled, making the competition more exciting than ever. The U.S. had an amazing 5-2 win against Japan, and this made them the first women’s team to ever hold three World Cup titles. There were also 17 out LGBT players and coaches in the Cup this year—17 more than the number that played in the Men’s World Cup last year. Despite all of this, it’s still sort of hard to feel happy amidst the rampant sexism of FIFA.

The Cup kicked off with a large group of players suing FIFA for making them play the World Cup on turf, turf fields being completely inferior to grass ones. FIFA barely blinked and the players ended up calling off their lawsuit. Opposing teams were also being hosted in the same hotels, which can cause a lot of tension. Meanwhile, men’s teams are each given their own hotels, usually along with their own private practice fields. 

Most of all, however, the teams are being paid less. Business Insider reports that although the U.S. will be paid two million dollars, which is one million more than the last winner of the Women’s World Cup, they are being paid six million dollars less than the losers of last year’s Men’s World Cup.

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Many are chalking this up to math. Since fewer people watch the Women’s World Cup, teams should be paid less. However, as Steve Hendricks of Counterpunch points out, that is probably FIFA’s fault too. FIFA is simply not promoting or supporting women’s soccer enough, despite the massive attention it is starting to garner. 

Hendricks reports, “over the next four years FIFA will spend just $22 million to develop women’s and girls’ soccer—and $900 million to develop men’s and boys’ soccer.” How is women’s soccer supposed to improve if FIFA isn’t supporting it? 

Hendricks says it probably won’t. “Reforms stand no chance with the current FIFA. The reason is the same that hinders other reforms: FIFA’s members—its 209 constituent national football associations—each get the same vote… the sad truth is that the vast majority of countries are woefully biased against women generally and women in sport particularly. Under FIFA’s voting structure, that won’t soon change.”

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Hopefully, FIFA themselves will step up to make some changes.  In the end, it could only do them good. If they can get more people to watch women’s soccer, it will mean more money in their pockets, which is apparently all they care about.  

Let’s all raise our glasses to the U.S.’s incredible win and to the hope that the state of women’s soccer will improve. 

Image courtesy of Official U.S. Soccer WNT Twitter

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