The U.S. men’s team secured a spot in the round of 16 at the 2022 Qatar World Cup after narrowly defeating Iran in a thrilling match Tuesday— here’s how much American players are set to earn based on how far the U.S. advances, and why the women’s team will be rooting extra hard for their male counterparts.
Most of the prize money depends on where the teams finish at the World Cup: FIFA, the event organizer, will dole out $440 million to the 32 national teams, including $9 million each to the 16 teams eliminated at the group stage, $13 million to teams knocked out in the round of 16, followed by escalating amounts that culminate with $30 million to the runner-up and $42 million to the winner.
Each national soccer federation determines how to divvy up that money, but the U.S. payout is already set by a collective-bargaining agreement — and part of the money will go to the U.S. women’s team, even though they’re not playing in the tournament.
The 23 members of the U.S. men’s national team will receive a $10,000 stipend for every game in Qatar, while 90% of whatever FIFA bonus they earn will be distributed equally among the 46 members of the men’s and women’s teams.
After advancing, the American men already blew past their $206,000 minimum payday, and each player will take home $294,000 should the team bow out after Saturday’s match against the Netherlands (the U.S. women would get $254,000, the difference being the game checks).
And it only gets more lucrative from there: Should the U.S. prevail over the Dutch and lose in the quarterfinals, each American men’s player would make $383,000, while they would receive $559,000 for a fourth-place finish, $696,000 for a bronze, $794,000 for coming in second and $892,000 for a championship.
The women’s side will get comparably fat checks, getting $822,000 if their male peers win their first-ever World Cup (which oddsmakers give a 1% chance of happening, the 12th-best odds of competing countries).
U.S. Soccer’s unique pay structure, awarding some of the prize money from Qatar to its women’s team, comes after the yearslong high-profile labor dispute over the higher pay for the American men’s team despite the women’s team’s long history of outshining the men on the international stage. The American male and female sides will also split an equal share of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, though that tournament’s prize pool is expected to be about $60 million, about 15% of the Qatar World Cup. FIFA’s controversial decision to tap Qatar as the site of the 2022 World Cup a decade ago allegedly came after FIFA took bribes from the Qatari government. The decision remains highly contentious, with the disgraced former head of FIFA calling the Qatar selection a “mistake” earlier this month. Critics point to the country’s lack of human rights for certain groups—homosexuality is illegal and women need permission from male guardians to drive or travel abroad—though efforts to boycott the tournament did not pick up much steam. Qatar spent at least $220 billion on the World Cup, making it by far the most expensive World Cup ever. Thousands of migrant worker deaths are linked to the massive construction undertaken for the tournament.
By comparison, South Korea awarded each player a roughly $15,000 bonus for making the team and will pay them about $23,000 for each win and about $8,000 for each draw, team spokesperson Jay Ahn told Forbes in emailed comments before the World Cup. Players would also receive $76,000 bonuses for advancing past the group stage and $150,000 in bonuses for reaching the quarterfinals, for a total of about $390,000 if Korea miraculously went undefeated. But after losing to Ghana on Monday, Korea’s hopes of advancing are all but dashed.
German players will earn bonuses of about $415,000 with a World Cup championship, team spokesperson Franziska Wülle told Forbes, with a roughly $52,000 bonus per player should Germany make it to the round of 16, needing a win against Costa Rica on Thursday and a poor result from Japan to do so.
Denmark’s players earn a bonus of $124,000 for making the team and can take home as much as $688,000 should the team win it all, according to the Danish players association’s website.
Australian players get a roster bonus of about $150,000 and split a 50% share of any further prize money, putting total potential compensation at about $680,000, according to a report in the Sydney Morning-Herald.
Perhaps no compensation will top the unique bonus Senegalese players earned for qualifying for the World Cup by winning the Africa Cup of Nations in February. Each player received a $87,000 cash prize and 700 square meters of land in the country’s capital Dakar and its suburbs.
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