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Washington Spirit urge passage of equal pay legislation for athletes in international competition

Washington Spirit's Andi Sullivan, center, lifts the trophy
AP Photo/Jeff Dean
Washington Spirit’s Andi Sullivan, center, lifts the trophy as they celebrate after defeating the Chicago Red Stars in the 2021 NWSL Championship soccer match.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) franchise Washington Spirit is urging Congress to pass legislation that will allow U.S. athletes who participate in international competitions to receive equal pay and benefits. 

In a full-page advertisement in Monday’s edition of The New York Times, the reigning NWSL champions said that the Equal Pay for Team USA Act would ensure equality for male and female athletes. 

“We are the Washington Spirit, the reigning champions of the National Women’s Soccer League and we have benefited greatly from Title IX,” the team said in its advertisement. “Today, we are calling on Congress to pass the Equal Pay for Team USA Act.” 

The club also mentioned the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) reaching a landmark agreement with the U.S. men’s and women’s national soccer teams earlier this year, allowing the national teams to receive identical compensation for all competitions and the same commercial revenue-sharing mechanism, such as equal prize money for World Cup victories. 

“The Equal Pay for Team USA Act would ensure parity for every sport, a critical step toward gender equality,” the team added. “Please call on your representatives to pass this act and make equal pay the law of the land.” 

The Equal Pay for Team USA Act, introduced by Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) in 2019, would require equal pay compensation such as benefits, medical care, travel and reimbursement of expenses for athletes competing for the U.S. regardless of gender. 

If passed, the proposed legislation will also apply to 50 different sports’ national governing bodies in the U.S., and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) will be required to conduct oversight and report on compliance with the legislation. 

The Senate Commerce Committee voted to advance the proposed legislation in June. 

At least 50 different sporting organizations have announced their support for the Equal Pay for Team USA Act.

Tags equal pay Equal pay Maria Cantwell National Women's Soccer League New York Times Shelley Moore Capito Title IX Washington Spirit women's rights women's sports Women's sports

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