Soccer

Soccer

Megan Rapinoe isn't afraid to speak her mind, and Saturday was no exception.

On the eve of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup final between the United States Women's National Team and the Netherlands, Rapinoe took aim at FIFA for not valuing the women's game as much as the men's. Rapinoe slammed FIFA for the gap in prize money between the Men's World Cup and the Women's World Cup, as well as for the decision to play the Gold Cup final in America and the Copa America final in Brazil on the same day as the Women's World Cup final.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino announced Friday that he would look to double the women's prize pool. While that sounds like a good idea, doubling the women's prize pool only would bring it up to $60 million, while the men's prize pool sits at $440 million for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The USWNT midfielder noted the relatively empty gesture.

"It certainly is not fair," Rapinoe said of the gap in prize money. "We should double it now and use that number to double it or quadruple it for the next time. That's what I mean when we talk about, 'Do we feel respected?'

“If you really care are you letting the gap grow? Are you scheduling three finals on the same day? No, you’re not. Are you letting federations have their teams play two games in the four years between each tournament? No, you’re not. That’s what I mean about the level of care. You need attention and detail and the best minds that we have in the women’s game, helping it grow every single day.”

 

When asked what would help ensure the growth of the game after an immensly popular World Cup, Rapinoe broke into song, literally.

“Money, Money, Money, Money, right?" Rapinoe said. "Money from FIFA, money from federations. Money from advertisers, sponsors, rights-holders, TV. All of that. And obviously not just blindly throwing cash at things, but investing in infrastructure, in training programs or academies for women, in coaching for women. All of it. I don’t think you, sort of, get to the point of having an incredible business by running it on a budget that’s a dollar more than it was last year. You have to make nig up-front investments and really bet on the future.

"I think that the women's game has proved time and time again, World Cup after World Cup, year after year that we're worthy of the investment. The quality on the field and the product on the field is there, and we just sort of need that business step to be in line in terms of all the steps we are making on the field in terms of performance. So for me, I always say that, it's always money."

Asked if she felt that her and her teammates get the same respect as the men's game, Rapinoe hit FIFA for its ridiculous scheduling error.

"No, of course not," Rapinoe said. "I mean it's terrible scheudling for everyone. Don't you guys feel disrespected by that? I mean, as someone who works in football, somebody who plays in football, that's a terrible idea to put every game on the same day. In every way. Obviosuly, there's other finals going on, but this is the World Cup final -- it's like cancel everything day. So, no. I don't know how that happened.

"I think I heard somewhere that they just didn't think about it, which is like the problem. That you just didn't think about it, when the World Cup final is set so far in advance. It's actually unbelieveable. So, no I don't think that we feel the same level of respect certainly that FIFA has for the men and just in general."

Rapinoe, who has scored five goals in the tournment, also has drawn the ire of President Donald Trump during the World Cup for saying she wouldn't go "to the f--king White House" if the USWNT won.

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The star midfielder didn't play in the USA's semifinal win over England, but is expected to take the pitch Sunday in Lyon.