Joe Biden’s message to U.S. Soccer: No men’s World Cup funding in ’26 without equal pay for USWNT

A federal judge in California on Friday dismissed a significant portion of the discrimination lawsuit filed by members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team against its governing body, U.S. Soccer. A day later, former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee in 2020, threw his support behind the USWNT on Twitter.

He told the team to not “give up on this fight. This is not over yet.” 

In the same tweet, Biden tagged U.S. Soccer’s Twitter account and said, “Equal pay, now. Or else when I’m president, you can go elsewhere for World Cup funding.”

The men’s FIFA World Cup is coming to North America in 2026, with sites in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Molly Levinson, a spokesperson for the USWNT members who filed the suit, tweeted Friday that the players will appeal U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner’s ruling.

Klausner did allow one part of the USWNT’s suit go to trial next month; allegations against U.S. Soccer of unfair treatment in travel, housing and medical support. The dismissed parts, which sought damages under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII, resonated the loudest, however, and prompted Biden’s encouragement. 

Biden is not the first politician to call for equality. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., introduced a bill in the Senate last July that tied federal funding for the 2026 men’s World Cup to equal pay for the women’s team.

“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no Federal funds may be appropriated or otherwise made available to provide support for the 2026 World Cup, including support for a host city, a participating State or local agency, (CONCACAF), or (FIFA), until the date on which the United States Soccer Federation agrees to provide equitable pay to the members of the United States Women’s National Team and the United States Men’s National Team,” Manchin’s bill read in part.

Manchin introduced the bill two days after the U.S. won the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Biden is running to defeat incumbent President Donald Trump in the November general election.

Before Friday’s ruling was issued, USWNT captain Megan Rapinoe joined Biden and his wife, Jill, on Instagram Live. 

Talked to Vice President @joebiden and @drbiden about all things Covid, campaigning during these times, bringing the Democrats together and how understanding we are all together will win the Presidency in November.

A post shared by Megan Rapinoe (@mrapinoe) on

In the video, Rapinoe offered to be Biden’s vice-presidential running mate. 

“If you need a vice president, I’m just saying I’m available for an interview,” Rapinoe said. “We can talk logistics and the details. Put it on your list. No pressure.”

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