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USWNT stars support fans' chant of 'Equal Pay'

USWNT stars support fans' chant of 'Equal Pay' aimed at FIFA President

July 7, 2019 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
A very essential message was delivered to the president of world football's governing body following the conclusion of France 2019.

After inspiring the USA Women's national team to a successful back-to-back World Cup title win, fans draped in Stars and Stripes rallied behind Jill Ellis' ladies once more and made their voice heard regarding the huge pay-gap between the players and their male counterparts. It is a subject that has attracted divided opinions in recent years and, on Sunday, FIFA President Gianni Infantino was given a resounding rendition of the song that has been on the lips of star of the world champions Megan Rapinoe and many others even before the commencement of France 2019.

The head of world football's governing body was in attendance when a penalty by the 34-year-old skipper and a 69th-minute strike by Rose Lavelle, successfully secured a fourth world title for the North Americans against their Dutch opponent at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais. While on his way to the field to honor the champions along with French president Emmanuel Macron, the whole stadium erupted with chants of 'Equal Pay' in protest to the gender pay gap that has plagued women's football since time immemorial.

The cries of the spectators may be justified considering the total prize money of the 2019 FIFA World Cup was $30 million; a figure which is $370 million short of what was divided among the men's team at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Even more peculiar, the United States Women's national team took home $4 million of the cash prize whereas winners of Russia 2018, France, earned a staggering $38 million.

On Friday, Infantino revealed that there is a proposal in place to double the prize money at the Women's World Cup. And while the gap will still be miles off what will be taken home by the men, the likes of Ali Krieger, Carli Lloyd and Crystal Dunn all advocated for a better remuneration package following Sunday's final victory over Netherlands.

"I didn't really hear [the 'Equal Pay' chants], Krieger told reporters. I could barely hear my teammate next to me or behind me.

"But I am so happy that they support us in that way and that everyone is here for a common goal. That is just getting what we deserve. 

"I am passionate and inspired about this because we just love to play this game but we also understand that we have other responsibilities to uphold like being a role model for people who maybe don't have a voice and using our platform for not only football but for important issues that are happening around us. 

"We are willing to use our platform in a healthy and positive way and I am so happy to hear that it is inspiring others to do the same."

Krieger's teammate Carli Lloyd also opined that the USWNT made their case for equal pay with a strong performance in the final.

"I think we obviously backed it up with winning and I think that it is going to make our case a lot stronger," she told Live Soccer TV's Angela Asante.

"We just have to keep on fighting and that is what ultimately it's all about as we are more or less the pioneers of it all."

USWNT Full-back Crystal Dunn also commended the fans for the gesture.

"The fans have been amazing and I think that is something I am never going to forget. 

"We were obviously overseas but a lot of these matches felt like home games and we owe that to the fans and everyone that traveled and spent all their money to come out here and support us."

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