World Cup

Equal pay for women's World Cup players? Seriously?

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Equal pay for women's World Cup players? Seriously?

I knew this would be an inevitable argument because a lot of people either don't know anything about professional sports or economics. Or both.

It seems a lot of people, including a Portland city commissioner, are up in arms that members of the USA's winning World Cup soccer team weren't paid at the same level as members of the men's team:

Questions started when fans heard how much money the U.S. Women's National Team got for the historic win over Japan.

They received $2 million.

When the men's team lost in round sixteen of last year's tournament, they got $8 million.

Sounds terribly unfair, doesn't it? Especially if you don't understand the inherent difference in the finances of the women's game vs. the men's game. Or if you live in Portland and are a fan of the Thorns, the most successful women's soccer team in the country -- which clouds your judgment a bit. But the fact is, women's soccer just doesn't generate the sort of money -- at least so far -- that the men's game does.

There is a big difference in the revenue available to pay the teams:

This years figures have not been released, but four years ago the Women's World Cup brought in almost $73 million. The 2010 Men's World Cup in South Africa made almost $4 billion. Those players got $348 million, or 9 percent of the total revenue. The women's team got a higher percentage with 13 percent, but the bottom line was still much less, $10 million.

So, as you can see, there is unfairness here -- but it's toward the men. Women got a higher percentage of the revenue than men did! In many pro sports with salary caps, percentage of gross revenues is the major determination of player salaries. It's how the whole thing works.

This sounds like an argument that will be louder in Portland than just about any other city in the country. This soccer hotbed supports the women's league like no other city. Two women's pro leagues have already failed and the NWSL averages only 4,400 fans per game -- playing in sub-par facilities in many cities. To make an argument for equal pay in this sport is premature, at best.

In most cases, the money isn't there. The major revenue generator of all sports -- a lucrative national television contract -- is absent in the NWSL.

Someday, perhaps. But there's no Title IX in the real world -- it's a law to make sure our youngsters involved in scholastic sports get fair treatment regardless of gender. But when you get to the real world, the only "fair" thing is that you hope players get a percentage of the revenue they generate.

But let's face it, there are a lot of factors that determine pay in pro sports. LeBron James makes a lot more money than some of the others on his team. Often, you're paid for what you've done in the past rather than what you'll do in a current season. Or you're paid for what you could get on the open market. You get different pay in different sports and it doesn't have a lot to do with gender.

But for those who believe there should be some sort of "living wage" paid to athletes of any gender or any sport, I'm sorry -- it isn't going to happen. Pro soccer players aren't going to earn what NBA players get paid. Pro miniature golfers don't earn the same money as PGA golfers. And WNBA players aren't going to be close to their NBA counterparts in salaries. There is no minimum wage across the board in pro sports. Each sport has its own minimum salary based on revenue but it differs due to the success of the sport. And if you want to change that, you really ought to buy a franchise in the NWSL and try paying players what Timbers players earn.

And good luck to you.

Could Seattle be a host site for the 2026 World Cup?

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Could Seattle be a host site for the 2026 World Cup?

We know the 2018 World Cup starts tomorrow, but it's never too early to start talking eight years down the road for the 2026 World Cup! Not too bad of a morning when you wake up to hear the news of the next location of the 2026 World Cup to be joint-hosted by the United States, Mexico, and Canada. That's right, the World Cup is returning to North America.

These three countries, combining together for the first time as one host, received 134 votes compared to bid-rival Morocco’s 65. In other news, this tournament will also be expanded to 48 teams rather than 32. Canada and Mexico will each host 10 games with the United States hosting 60. Specific locations are to be determined, but what about Seattle? CenturyLink seats 72,000, the PNW is an uprising soccer hot spot, and is neighbors with Canada. Sounds like a decent possibility... The 2026 Cup will be played on real grass, which is perhaps the largest hurdle to a Pacific Northwest World Cup site, as CenturyLink current has FieldTurf installed. 

The final match will be held at MetLife Stadium in New York, home to NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets.

The last time the United States hosted the World Cup was back in 1994. Mexico also previously hosted in 1970 and 1986. 

48 teams, 80 matches, and over 34 days of excitement all in your back yard. 

Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini each banned eight years by FIFA

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Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini each banned eight years by FIFA

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have each been handed eight year bans by the FIFA ethics committee following an investigation into a “disloyal payment” of $2 million from Blatter to Platini.

The ethics committee ruled the payment was a conflict of interest and a breach of loyalty. Blatter was also fined $40,000, while Platini was fined $80,ooo.

Both men have announced that they will appeal the ruling.

The following is a FIFA statement, which has banned two of the sport’s most powerful figures.

Mr Blatter, in his position as President of FIFA, authorised the payment to Mr Platini which had no legal basis in the written agreement signed between both officials on 25 August 1999.

Neither in his written statement nor in his personal hearing was Mr Blatter able to demonstrate another legal basis for this payment. His assertion of an oral agreement was determined as not convincing and was rejected by the chamber.”

Mr Platini failed to act with complete credibility and integrity, showing unawareness of the importance of his duties and concomitant obligations and responsibilities.

His actions did not show commitment to an ethical attitude, failing to respect all applicable laws and regulations as well as FIFA’s regulatory framework to the extent applicable to him and demonstrating an abusive execution of his position as Vice-President of FIFA and member of the FIFA Executive Committee.

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Report: Germany paid FIFA members bribes for 2006 World Cup

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Report: Germany paid FIFA members bribes for 2006 World Cup

BERLIN (AP) Der Spiegel is reporting that Germany’s bid to host the World Cup in 2006 was aided by bribes paid to FIFA executive committee members.

The German newsweekly says on its website that “the awarding of the 2006 World Cup to Germany was allegedly bought” with a slush fund set up by the German bid committee of 10.3 million Swiss francs contributed by former Adidas chief Robert Louis-Dreyfus.

Spiegel says Louis-Dreyfus loaned the money as a private citizen to the bid committee before the awarding of the tournament on July 6, 2000. It was reportedly used to secure the votes of four Asian representatives on FIFA’a 24-member executive committee.

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Another awful showing for Klinsmann, USMNT in 1-0 loss to Costa Rica

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Another awful showing for Klinsmann, USMNT in 1-0 loss to Costa Rica

With World Cup qualifying beginning next month, the United States men’s national team is undoubtedly a team in crisis.

Joel Campbell‘s 70th minute goal walked Costa Rica to a decided 1-0 win over the Jurgen Klinsmann’s USMNT, which continues to struggle mightily against all competition after Saturday’s unsightly defeat at the hands of Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup final.

A strong Costa Rican side dominated an experimental (at best) U.S. side., and Los Ticos posted the first clean sheet against the U.S. in nearly two dozen matches, dating back to the match against Germany at 2014 World Cup.

It’s also the first three-match home soil losing streak for the U.S. since 1997. The Yanks next play in November, with 2018 World Cup qualifiers starting against Trinidad & Tobago and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

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Blatter, Platini both officially appeal FIFA suspension

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Blatter, Platini both officially appeal FIFA suspension

Suspended FIFA executives Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have both officially appealed their 90-day bans through various means in attempts to clear their names.

The pair have been forced to temporarily vacate their office due to an investigation by Swiss authorities into corruption charges based on a “disloyal payment” of around $2 million from Blatter to Platini in 2011.

Blatter’s appeal was lodged within FIFA on Friday, with the president’s lawyer confirming he has “requested additional proceedings before the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee and filed an appeal with the Appeal Committee.”

Blatter’s American lawyer Richard Cullen said he is “very hopeful” the suspension will be lifted on appeal, while his lawyer team back on Thursday argued in a statement that the FIFA Ethics Committee “based its decision [to suspend Blatter] on a misunderstanding of the actions of the attorney general in Switzerland, which has opened an investigation but brought no charge against the president.”

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FIFA announces bans for Blatter, Platini, Valcke, Chung

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FIFA announces bans for Blatter, Platini, Valcke, Chung

The headline reads “Independent Ethics Committee bans several football officials”, as FIFA stays defiant on naming names even to the death.

Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini, Jerome Valcke and Chung Mong-joon have all been banned by the Hans Joachim Eckert-run Ethics Comittee, with the first trio getting 90 days away from all soccer activities and former VP Mong-joon seeing a six-year ban.

Blatter, Platini and Valcke could see an additional 45 days away on this charge, which would bring them right up to the next FIFA Presidential Election in February.

FIFA was sure to indicate in its press release that, of course, this is the Ethics Committee’s decision and not based on the investigations by Swiss and U.S. authorities (Commence eye-rolling). They also want to make sure you know which heinous villains are personally attacking Blatter and Platini:

The grounds for these decisions are the investigations that are being carried out by the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee. The chairman of the chamber is Dr Cornel Borbély. The investigation into Joseph S. Blatter is being carried out by Robert Torres, the investigation into Michel Platini by Vanessa Allard.

While Blatter and Valcke’s fates have seemed– key word: seemed, this is FIFA — sealed for a great deal of time, this suspension further dents Platini’s chances at the presidency. UEFA’s boss has been given every benefit of the doubt by European pundits, but looks unable to escape rumors pertaining to his actions regarding the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

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Report: FIFA provisionally suspends Sepp Blatter

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Report: FIFA provisionally suspends Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter could, finally, be frozen out by FIFA.

The 17-year leader of world soccer’s governing body has reportedly been suspended for 90 days after FIFA’s ethics committee met on Wednesday to discuss allegations against both Blatter and his close ally Michel Platini.

[ MORE: Chung to sue Blatter ]

Reports suggest that the decision to suspend the Swiss official still needs to be formally ratified by the adjudicatory chamber of the ethics committee, but it is highly likely that Blatter will be suspended until January 2016.

Blatter, 79, has been at FIFA for over 40 years but under his stewardship the organization has been riddled with allegations of corruption as current investigations from both the U.S. and Swiss authorities continue. The longtime FIFA official is suspected of “criminal mismanagement or misappropriation” by the Swiss authorities after a payment of over $1.9 million is linked to Blatter and the current president of UEFA, and FIFA presidential candidate, Platini.

[ MORE: How will USA line up vs. Mexico? ]

Klaus Stoehlker, who formerly advised Blatter, has told Sky News that the ethics committee “made the ruling pending further investigations by the Swiss attorney general” and the verdict was “pending”  but that “no negative finding had been made against the head of world football’s governing body.” It is believed that the 90-day suspension is the maximum amount of time the ethics committee can suspend any individuals while an investigation is ongoing.

It has been reported that the head of FIFA’s ethics committee, Judge Hans Joachim-Eckert, has told Blatter of his suspension.

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Mexico wins Gold Cup, beating Jamaica 3-1

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Mexico wins Gold Cup, beating Jamaica 3-1

Mexico picked the right time to put in its first comprehensive performance of the 2015 Gold Cup against a quality opponent.

After becoming the beneficiary of some friendly decisions to reach the finals, El Tri looked solid defensively and dangerous up front despite a thin squad thanks to injuries and suspensions, and swarmed past Jamaica 3-0 behind goals from Andres Guardado, Jesus Corona, and Oribe Peralta. The win sets up an October showdown with the United States for a spot in the Confederations Cup.

The first 10 minutes had a very CONCACAF feel to it, with Mexico holding much of the possession but unable to unlock Jamaica’s final third. The Carribbean nation had an early set-piece that Randolph Austin sent just wide.

As Jamaica built themselves onto the ball, the game opened up slightly, but Mexico grabbed back the advantage by the half-hour mark with Oribe Peralta sending a shot just wide of the top corner. The referee, looking to keep hold of the game, showed three yellow cards inside the first 30 minutes – two of which to Jamaica midfielders.

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U.S. loses 3rd-place Gold Cup match to Panama

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U.S. loses 3rd-place Gold Cup match to Panama

Mercifully, and not one millisecond too soon, the US national team’s humbling run at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup is over after a penalty kick shootout defeat (1-1, 3-2 PKs) to Panama in the third-place game at PPL Park on Saturday.

The USMNT, out-shot 25 to 5 (12 to 2 on target) by Los Canaleros on the day, was thoroughly outplayed for the fifth time in sixth games (Honduras, Haiti, Panama, Jamaica and now Panama once again) at this Gold Cup. At home. By Panama.

After an opening 45 minutes that saw Panama create the game’s only real goalscoring chances — including a goal-bound ball cleared off the line by Tim Ream — Panama broke the scoreless deadlock in the 55th minute, when Roberto Nurse got in behind the USMNT back line, cut inside past a lumbering, lazy John Brooks challenge, and slotted the his left-footed shot around Brad Guzan and inside the far post.

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