Rapinoe Accepts Infantino Invite To Discuss Growing Women's Soccer
USWNT F Megan Rapinoe “accepted an invitation" to talk in the future with FIFA President Gianni Infantino, whose organization she has “criticized repeatedly for not caring about women’s soccer and not investing enough money in its growth,” according to Andrew Keh of the N.Y. TIMES (7/8). The AP’s Rob Harris wrote the introduction of Infantino and French President Emmanuel Macron for the on-field trophy presentation yesterday was “followed by boos and chants of ‘equal pay.’" Rapinoe said of the crowd reaction, “A little public shame never hurt anyone” (AP, 7/7). ESPN.com’s Graham Hays noted FIFA “will award” $30M in prize money for the Women's World Cup, compared to the men receiving $400M last year. Rapinoe said, “It’s time to sit down with everyone and really get to work” (ESPN.com, 7/7). In L.A., Helene Elliott in a front-page piece writes the USWNT players’ lawsuit against U.S. Soccer was “scheduled to go to arbitration after the tournament, but the court of public opinion rendered an emphatic verdict Sunday: Pay them” (L.A. TIMES, 7/8). A N.Y. POST editorial states, “It’s now hard to see why the women don’t earn more: They’re not only markedly more successful, they also bring in more revenue” (N.Y. POST, 7/8).
INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY: Rapinoe on Friday said that despite Infantino proposing an investment of $1B in the women’s game over the next four years, female soccer players are "not respected equally by their sport's international governing body.” Rapinoe said, “It certainly is not fair. We should double it now and use that number to double it or quadruple it for the next time. That's what I mean when we talk about, ‘Do we feel respected?’” ESPN.com’s Alyssa Roenigk noted FIFA’s proposed investment “means that while the women's purse will increase” to $60M in ‘23, the gap between the men and women will “increase the next time around.” Rapinoe, when asked what can be done to sustain the momentum gained from the just concluded Women’s World Cup, said, “Money from FIFA, money from federations, money from advertisers, sponsors, rights holders, TV, all of that." She said, "Investing in infrastructure, training programs, academies for women, in coaching for women. I don't think you get to the point of having an incredible business by running it on a budget that is one dollar more than it was last year. You have to make big upfront investments and really bet on the future” (ESPN.com, 7/6).
TIP OF THE CAP: Rapinoe said that despite ongoing litigation, the USSF “deserves credit for advancing women’s soccer.” She said, “Our federation is case in point of funding the team very well. Obviously, I’m the first one to step up and fight with them and nudge them a little more, but they have backed us tremendously in comparison to every other federation in the world.” She added, “We don’t often give them kudos, but that’s definitely one I’m willing to give” (PROSOCCERUSA.com, 7/7).