By Ken Reed

We are a couple days from the start of one of the biggest spectacles in sports, soccer’s World Cup, hosted by Qatar.

Soccer is truly a global sport and its fun to see so many countries competing in this sporting event.

The World Cup spotlight will shine on some of the world’s greatest athletes. However, the spotlight will also shine on some disturbing problems, including the host country’s shaky human rights record.

This year’s World Cup will also bring attention to the huge gap in prize money between the men’s World Cup and the women’s World Cup. The purse for the men’s tournament is more than 10 times that of the women’s tournament.

FIFA, the sport’s governing body, will hand out $440 million to the 32 qualifying men’s teams. The winner will receive $42 million. On the other hand, women’s World Cup teams will only take home $30 million, with the winner getting $4 million.

The prize money gap is depressing, especially since the United States’ women’s national team recently negotiated a CBA with US Soccer calling for equal pay for the men’s and women’s national teams. That agreement sent a powerful message to the rest of the world that gender equality in soccer is possible.

Unfortunately, the rest of the world in general, and FIFA in particular, have a long ways to go on the equality front.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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