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Senator wants to block 2026 World Cup funding until equal pay for US Soccer teams

If the U.S. women's soccer team doesn't get equal pay, one Senator wants to make sure no federal funding would be used for the 2026 World Cup.

WASHINGTON — West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin introduced legislation on Tuesday that would block federal funds from being used to support the 2026 World Cup, until the U.S. Soccer Federation agrees to give equal pay to the women's and men's national teams. 

The United States is set to co-host the men's 2026 World Cup, along with Mexico and Canada. 

The Democratic senator's bill would block all funds provided to host cities, state or local agencies, the U.S. Soccer Federation, CONCACAF or FIFA, until U.S. Soccer agrees to "provide equitable pay to the members of the United States Women’s National Team and the United States Men’s National Team."

The players on the women's national team collectively filed a lawsuit earlier this year alleging discrimination by the U.S. Soccer Federation and seeking equal pay. 

According to the New York Times, the players on the U.S. women's team are set to receive about $250,000 each for winning the World Cup. But if the U.S. men's team had won, those players would've been paid more than $1.1 million each, according to documents obtained by The Guardian

Manchin said in a release Tuesday that he decided to introduce legislation after receiving a letter from the West Virginia University Women's Soccer head coach highlighting her worries about the lack of equal pay between the men's and women's teams. 

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"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 latest victory is causing public outcry," Manchin wrote. "They are the best in the world and deserve to be paid accordingly."