Megan Rapinoe says FIFA World Cup prize money ‘not fair,’ women not as ‘respected’ as men

Megan Rapinoe warmed up for the Women’s World Cup final by taking shots at FIFA on Saturday.

The American midfielder criticized world soccer’s governing body for not respecting female players as much as males because it awards women less prize money and scheduled two major men’s tournament finals on the same day as the women's title match between the U.S. and the Netherlands.

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"It certainly is not fair," Rapinoe said of the gap in prize money awarded at the men's and women's World Cups. "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?'"

Rapinoe called out FIFA in a press conference on the eve of the title match against the Netherlands. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Rapinoe called out FIFA in a press conference on the eve of the title match against the Netherlands. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Rapinoe’s claims that FIFA cares less about the women’s game come a day after FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced a proposal to expand the 2023 Women’s World Cup from 24 to 32 teams and double the prize money from $30 million to $60 million. However, the men’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar has a prize purse set at $440 million, up from $400 million in Russia last year.

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“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," Rapinoe said. "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."

FIFA's cash reserves at the end of 2018 stood at $2.74 billion.

Rapinoe also called FIFA's scheduling of the men’s CONCACAF Gold Cup and Copa America on Sunday "a terrible idea" on what should be "cancel everything day."

"It's terrible scheduling for everyone," Rapinoe said. "It's a terrible idea to put everything on the same day. In every way. Obviously, there are two other finals going on, but this is the World Cup final. This is, like, cancel everything day. The World Cup final is set so far in advance, it's actually unbelievable [this happened]. No, we don't feel the same level of respect that FIFA has for the men.”

"No, we don't feel the same level of respect that FIFA has for the men.”

— Megan Rapinoe, U.S. Women's National Team midfielder

FIFA has argued that playing all three finals on the same day will attract more attention to each match, ESPN reported. The Gold Cup and Copa America were set for later in the day following the women's match.

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Rapinoe conceded that the women's game faces “a very complex problem,” but maintained that the resources and willingness to make it better already exist.

“It's just a matter of wanting to do it and caring enough about it, to make it happen. I mean, we're making a World Cup in Qatar happen," Rapinoe said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.