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The World Cup and equal pay days

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is moving on to the quarterfinals. Unfortunately the U.S. men’s team won’t be joining them this year – again. But there’s still plenty for the U.S. to celebrate. This year’s tournament is a big win for equal pay. Read on to see why.

Total prize money

Did you know that every team that plays in the 2022 World Cup takes home at least $9 million this year? That is just for the teams that didn’t make it out of the group knockout rounds. Each team that made it to the Round of 16 is guaranteed $13 million and the ones that made it through to the quarterfinals will be getting $17 million each.

All in all, the 32 teams who participated this year will receive some portion of $440 million, with the champions taking home $42 million in prize money. That is up from $400 million in 2018 and $358 million in 2014.

For a quick comparison, $30 million was split between the 24 qualifying women’s teams in the 2019 Women’s World Cup, with the champions receiving $4 million in prize money. This was up from the $2 million the winners received in 2015. The U.S. women’s soccer team took home the top prize both times.

Who gets the prize money?

A lot of fans assume that the prize money goes to the players. However, it is actually awarded to the country’s football federation, not the individual team or players. Therefore, each individual federation decides how the money will be awarded with some teams being more generous to their players than others. 

For example, NBC Sports reported that in 2018, the German team promised $400,000 to each player if they won the tournament, while the Spanish team promised $930,000 to each player for the same title. France, the winner that year, gave 30% of the total earnings to their players as a bonus, amounting to about $330,000 per player.

What does the World Cup have to do with equal pay?

This World Cup is the very first one held since U.S. Soccer signed an equal-pay agreement earlier this year. The agreement established that all World Cup earnings given to the team must be split evenly between the men’s and women’s teams. 

The men’s team earned $13 million for their participation through the Round of 16. After U.S. Soccer takes its 10% cut, the other 90% will be going to the two national teams. This means the U.S. women’s team will receive $5.85 million for the men’s participation in the World Cup. 

So the men’s players aren’t the only ones disappointed they didn’t advance to the next round. And next year when the women’s team goes on the 2023 World Cup in Australia/New Zealand, you better believe the men’s team will be cheering them on all along the way.


  • Julianne Culey

    Julianne is the Assistant Director of the Reynolds Center with expertise in marketing and communications and holds a master's in Sociology from Arizona State University.

    View all posts

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