Finland announces equal pay for national teams to help develop 'a more responsible society'

The Finnish FA announced it will begin paying its men’s and women’s national teams equally and hopes the example will inspire other entities involved in women’s soccer.

“We want to be involved in the development of a more responsible and equal society,” Finnish Football Associate chairman Ari Lahti said, via the Daily Mail.

“Hopefully our example will also challenge and inspire the media, partners and supporters to invest in women's football.”

BIEL, SWITZERLAND - APRIL 05: Team of Finland behind the Finland flag during their national anthem prior the international friendly football match between Switzerland Women and Finland Women at Tissot-Arena on April 5, 2019 in Biel, Switzerland. (Photo by Daniela Porcelli/Getty Images)
The Finnish women's national team signed a four-year contract ensuring equal pay with the men's national team. (Photo by Daniela Porcelli/Getty Images)

Finland authorizes 4-year equal pay deal

The organization shared the announcement Wednesday on its Twitter page with a video by midfielder Nora Heroum.

The women’s national team signed a four-year contract with the Finnish FA that will give them the same win and draw bonuses as the men’s team, per GiveMeSport. The team shared the news with “Same dreams, same goals, same game, same contract,” which was echoed by women’s captain Tinja-Riikka Korpela to the Daily Mail.

“For many of us the contract is important not only economically but also in a tangible way that the [men's and women's] A-Teams are equal.”

Finland did not compete in the Women’s World Cup in France this summer. The country is currently ranked No. 31 in FIFA’s Women’s World Rankings. The tournament is expanding from 24 teams to 32 teams for the 2023 World Cup.

The men’s national team also did not compete in its World Cup last cycle and is ranked No. 57.

USWNT still fighting for equal pay

Finland joins a select few countries who have struck deals for equal pay with their soccer federations. The Netherlands signed a deal before it finished as runner-up in the Women’s World Cup that the women’s team will receive an equal pay out as the men’s team beginning in 2023. The Norwegian women’s team was the first nation to make the deal in October 2017.

The U.S. women’s national team made “equal pay” a part of its World Cup celebration when girls held signs at the parade and chants broke out along their route in New York City. It is still waiting for its day to celebrate with fellow nations and also sees itself as a leader in women’s soccer for other countries to follow.

The team sued its federation ahead of the tournament and last month walked away from mediation talks with U.S. Soccer to settle the issue outside of court. The USWNT is citing lower bonuses compared to the men’s team and inferior travel accommodations, facilities and overall treatment.

Megan Rapinoe and Christen Press said talks broke down because the “concept” of equal pay was difficult for U.S. Soccer. The federation said in a statement the plantiffs’ counsel took an “aggressive and ultimately unproductive approach.”

Members of Congress have gotten involved and introduced a law that would block federal funding for the 2026 World Cup unless the women’s team is paid “fair and equitable wages” compared to the men. The 2026 men’s tournament was awarded to the U.S., Mexico and Canada in a joint bid.

A judge ruled the gender discrimination suit will go to trial May 5, 2020, far sooner than expected for either side. They each proposed different dates later in the year.

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