Donald Trump Joins USWNT Equal Pay Discussions With Gianni Infantino

Trump wants to make women’s soccer ‘even better and more equitable, etcetera, etcetera.’

Donald Trump has become the latest figure to join in on the debate surrounding equal pay for the U.S. women’s national team. Sort of. We think. 

The four-time Women’s World Cup champion USWNT is in the middle of a legal battle with U.S. Soccer over equal treatment to the USMNT, which wasn’t even able to qualify for the last World Cup. President Trump received a visit from FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Monday and the two discussed women’s soccer.

Infantino was in D.C. to discuss preparations for the 2026 World Cup, which the U.S. will co-host with Mexico and Canada. 

“Gianni Infantino is the head of FIFA,” Trump told reporters outside the White House on Monday. “He’s the biggest man in soccer and we are, as you probably know, getting the World Cup in 2026 for the United States. Some of it is a partnership with Mexico and Canada and it’s coming into the United States for a large percentage of the games and were very excited about it.”

Infantino then addressed the reporters as if they were children who had never heard of the sport of soccer.

“It’s fantastic to be here to boost even more soccer in this country,” Infantino said. “Soccer, which is the No. 1 global sport. World Cup 2026 taking place here, but we start already now. It’s the biggest event ever. It’s more than four billion viewers all around the world and we will make it the biggest not only sports event but the biggest social event that we can think of.”

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Trump said he wanted to extend his term through 2026 so he could see the completion of the 2026 World Cup as president. A former youth soccer player whose youngest son has been involved in the D.C. United academy, Trump would have to create a constitutional amendment to allow a third term in order to be U.S. president during the 2026 tournament. Or he could sit out the 2020 race and run again in 2024.

“Gianni, we’re going to have to extend my second term because 2026 — I’m going to have to extend it for a couple of years,” Trump said, before turning to reporters to say: “I don’t think any of you would have a problem with that.”

It would certainly fit the narrative from FIFA if Trump became an autocrat who ignored term limits given the 2018 World Cup was in Russia and the 2022 World Cup will be in Qatar. Silliness aside about extending his term beyond 2024, Trump and Infantino said they had discussions on women’s soccer.

“Gianni and I just had a meeting on women’s soccer and what everybody is going to do to make that even better and more equitable, etc., etc.,” Trump said, not clarifying his etceteras. 

What exactly this meeting entailed was not disclosed to the reporters. Trump had a Twitter feud with 2019 Women’s World Cup Golden Boot and Golden Ball winner Megan Rapinoe during the Women’s World Cup this summer but seems to be on the common-sense side of the argument that women’s soccer deserves more resources. Infantino suggested an announcement could come soon.

 “There is much more to do,” Infantino said on women’s soccer. “The president was saying this to me, and he is right, and we will announce very soon some initiatives.”

Despite being the most successful team in the history of women’s soccer (and perhaps all sports), the USWNT does not receive equal compensation and treatment from U.S. Soccer, which is why the team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the federation back in March. The two sides agreed to mediation, but talks broke down and it appears they are heading to court next May

Could Trump and Infantino have come to a solution for equal pay for women’s footballers? Unlikely, given the brevity of their meeting. 

But the two could have ideas on how to put more money into women’s soccer. Really, it’s not hard: FIFA is a non-profit, so a greater share of the immense wealth it builds through the men’s and Women’s World Cups should go to women’s soccer. Done. Solved.

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It is interesting, however, how FIFA doesn’t mind meddling with politicians but punishes nations whose politicians meddle with soccer federations. 

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