Norway breaks barriers as federation agrees to equal pay for women

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For decades, female athletes have battled the plight of not obtaining equal pay in soccer, but that is about to change in one country.

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Norway’s men’s national team — currently ranked 73rd in FIFA’s world rankings — has agreed to take pay cut so that the nation’s women’s team will receive equal pay from the Norwegian soccer federation starting in 2018.

“The ladies are as important as us,” said Norway midfielder Stefan Johansen. “It is a deal where we have taken part of our cut and given it to the women’s side.”

While the current deal between the Norwegian federation and both the men’s and women’s national teams were fairly similar in structure and pay, the women were in fact being paid less than the men despite being ranked 14th in FIFA’s women’s rankings.

Historically, the women’s national team has gained significantly better results than the men, reaching the Round of 16 or better in six of their seven World Cup appearances. That includes winning the 1995 edition of the tournament — which was held in Sweden.

In March 2016, the U.S. Women’s National Team accused U.S. Soccer of wage discrimination and filed a lawsuit against the federation that is still pending a court’s decision.