Donald Trump is a polarising figure in the US women’s team but he spoke to FIFA’s Gianni Infantino about bridging football’s gender divide.
President Donald Trump has held talks with FIFA chief Gianni Infantino about how women’s football can become “more equitable”.
Trump, who openly rowed with star player Megan Rapinoe during the United States’ Women’s World Cup triumph, met Infantino at the White House.
The US women’s national team are embroiled in a long-running battle with US Soccer in a battle to secure pay parity with their male counterparts, a far less successful team on the world stage.
Trump has yet to make his position clear in that argument, but after talks with FIFA president Infantino he said: “Gianni and I just had a meeting on women’s soccer and what everybody’s going to do to make that even better and more equitable, etc etc.”
Infantino added: “[In] women’s soccer, where you are world champion, there is much more to do. The president was saying this to me and he is right.
“We are working with that and we will announce very soon some new initiatives.”
Rapinoe said during the World Cup that she would not visit the White House if President Trump invited the team, triggering an angry response from the Oval Office. Trump suggested she had shown “disrespect” to her country.
….invited Megan or the team, but I am now inviting the TEAM, win or lose. Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team. Be proud of the Flag that you wear. The USA is doing GREAT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2019
The 34-year-old Rapinoe, who is gay and has used her platform to speak out on civil rights matters, refused to sing the US national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, during the World Cup in France. She previously supported NFL star Colin Kaepernick when – in an action that was rebuked by President Trump – he took a knee before games during the anthem in protest at racial injustice in the US.
Rapinoe has also urged Infantino to make his voice heard in the equal-pay dispute.
Trump and Infantino were meeting primarily on Monday to discuss the United States’ co-hosting of the 2026 World Cup with Canada and Mexico.
“We are, as you probably know, getting the World Cup in 2026 for the United States,” Trump said. “Some of it is a partnership with Mexico and Canada. It’s coming into the United States for a large percentage of the games.
“We’re very excited about it.”