After the U.S. claimed the FIFA Women's World Cup with a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands, the crowd's cheers of jubilation slowly turned into chants for equal pay.
The footage shows fans chanting 'equal pay' from the stands, reportedly as FIFA's president Gianni Infantino took the stage following the game.
Watch the video below.
The 2019 cup is the fourth wine for the U.S. women's team, who will take home a large slice of the $30 million prize money ($42 million AUD) – this is less than 10 per cent of the $400 million ($572 million AUD) prize money on offer for the 2018 men’s World Cup.
Infantino said that they would double the women's prize money in 2023, but U.S. midfielder Megan Rapinoe said in a press conference prior to the final that it's not enough.
“It certainly is not fair,” she stated. “We should double it now and then use that number to double it or quadruple it for the next time.”
The members of the U.S. team have long been vocal about the unfair pay gap between the women's and men's pay cheques. In 2016, Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Alex Morgan, and Hope Solo filed a federal complaint of wage discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The team eventually reached a collective agreement for higher pay.
In March this year, team members also filed a federal lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation, alleging “intentional gender discrimination”. Noting that, “Despite the fact that these female and male players are called upon to perform the same job responsibilities on their teams and participate in international competitions for their single common employer, the USSF, the female players have been consistently paid less money than their male counterparts. This is true even though their performance has been superior to that of the male players — with the female players, in contrast to male players, becoming world champions.”
Professional Footballers Australia, with the Matildas' backing, have launched a campaign for equity in prize money and pay between the men’s and women’s World Cups.
While the Socceroos pocketed $8 million AUD for qualifying in the men's World Cup last year, the Matildas only took home $1 million.
Cheryl Salisbury, a former Matilda and part of Optus Sport’s broadcast coverage team for the 2019 women’s World Cup, says that after an incredible tournament the crowd's support was the "icing on the cake".
"I think it shows that the tide is so powerfully starting to turn, people are wanting to see equality in football," she told Women's Health. "But I also think it's about more than just football, it's a social movement for pay equality whether it's on the football pitch or in the boardroom."
Although the gap in wages is important, Cheryl says it's part of a wider issue.
"It's ridiculous that there is such a gap," she says. "Equal pay is important, but that start with equal investment in the game. It starts with all the money given in grants as well, making sure that is invested equally in the women's game from grassroots to state associations and at a national level. At the moment, we'd see a men's team on the front pitch and the women on a cow paddock at the back with no floodlights. Equality needs to run through the whole game, not just at the top level with prize money."
And just because the World Cup is finished, doesn't mean the problem is.
"It’s important that this momentum keeps up and isn’t just something that is debated every four years."