Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) authored a bill that would pull federal funding for a future World Cup set to be played in the United States, unless the women’s national team starts getting paid the same amount as the men’s team, according to BuzzFeed News.

The bill would pull federal funding from the 2026 men’s World Cup that is used to support host cities and the sport’s governing bodies involved in the tournament.

Why did he author the bill?

Manchin cited public outcry, as well as a letter he received from the West Virginia University women’s soccer coach.

“Women deserve to be paid equitably for their work,” Manchin wrote on Twitter. “While @USWNT continues to dominate on the world stage & generate tremendous revenue for @ussoccer, the women make only a fraction of what the men’s national team is paid. It’s plain wrong, and it’s time to #PayTheWomen.”

WVU women’s coach Nikki Izzo-Brown voiced concerns to Manchin about whether her players would have the same earnings potential as men.

“I believe first hand, it is wrong for the U.S. Soccer women to be paid and valued less for their work because of gender,” Izzy-Brown wrote.

What’s this pay controversy?

There are arguments being made both that the women’s team is underpaid based on its performance, and that the team is actually overpaid based on the amount of revenue the sport of women’s soccer generates.

Megan McArdle breaks it down in a Washington Post column:

And now that the United States has again won the Women’s World Cup, their cause has turned into a national obsession, as Americans abruptly noticed that the pool of prize money available to their champions was less than 10 percent of what FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, offers the men. Members of the U.S. women’s team are also suing U.S. Soccer, their employer, for paying them less than the men’s team.

The pay gap is an outrage, outraged pundits proclaimed. Others fired back that the men’s World Cup last year generated $6 billion, of which the participants split $400 million, or about 7 percent of the total revenue. The women’s World Cup is expected to generate $131 million, of which the women’s teams are splitting $30 million, or about 23 percent of the overall revenue. Arguably, compared to the men, the women were actually grossly overpaid.

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