Dominance in women’s sports doesn’t lead to equal pay

Serena Williams is more dominant in her sport than any other athlete. Or is she? Only a couple can challenge her for that title and their all women. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Serena Williams is more dominant in her sport than any other athlete. Or is she? Only a couple can challenge her for that title and their all women. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

By Charles Glover, Jr.

2015 has been an incredible year for women in sports. Momentum has grown for more interest in women’s sports over the past several years as more female athletes have gained more recognition for their performance, not their appearance.

This development was clear on Sunday July 5, when the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) defeated Japan’s National Team to win the 2015 Women’s World Cup to a record number of American viewers. In fact, over 25 million viewers tuned in to see the 5 – 2 victory by the USWNT, the most ever views for any soccer match in American history. Carli Lloyd scored the first hat trick in a Women’s World Cup Final and the USWNT won their third World Cup Title, the most in Women’s World Cup history.

The US Women's National Team won the 2015 World Cup in convincing fashion.

The US Women’s National Team won the 2015 World Cup in convincing fashion.

Fans are more interested than ever in other sports as well. Ronda Rousey has become one of the most recognizable sports figures over the past couple of years while becoming the face of UFC. Rousey’s popularity has largely been bolstered by her in-ring dominance during her mixed martial arts matches. Rousey’s last match against Cat Zingano lasted only 14 seconds and her previous match against Alexis Davis lasted only 16 seconds. Rousey and her patented armband submission have elevated interest in women’s mixed martial arts, while also allowing Rousey to grow her brand beyond the sport.

Rousey has appeared in feature films including “The Expendables 3,” “Furious 7,” and “Entourage,” giving credence to those who feel women should have the same opportunities to grow their brand and earn as men. Rousey is not letting success go to her head, stating “I want to retire undefeated and be known as one of the greatest of all time. That takes a lot more work than what I’ve done so far.”

Ronda Rousey is 11 - 0 in MMA matches and is dominating her sport like never before.

Ronda Rousey is 11 – 0 in MMA matches and is dominating her sport like never before.

Serena Williams is seeking her 21st major tournament victory this week in London at Wimbledon. If Williams is successful in the semifinals against Maria Sharapova, she will have a chance to win her third consecutive major tournament and hold all 4 major titles at the same time for the second time in her career. Williams is aware of her achievements but also recognizes the disparity between the coverage of the men’s matches versus the women’s matches. Williams made the following observation:

“Every year they’re two men’s and one women’s match on the main courts, Court number one as well as on Centre Court. We’re still fighting on that. We’ve made some progress. Hopefully we’ll keep making more progress. I don’t think it’s limited to Wimbledon. We have this problem at a lot of different tournaments. Pretty much most of the tournaments that are both men and women. So I think it doesn’t start here. It’s a huge conversation we have to have.”

Serena Williams has won the last 2 major tennis tournaments and is closing in on a 3rd straight this week at Wimbledon.

Serena Williams has won the last 2 major tennis tournaments and is closing in on a 3rd straight this week at Wimbledon.

In addition to equal recognition, these dominant athletes are seeking equal pay as well. The USWNT earned $2 million for winning the 2015 World Cup while their male counterparts earned $8 million after being knocked out early in the 2014 World Cup. Nita Chaudhary of the organization Ultraviolet, a women’s rights advocacy group, has started a petition to FIFA to pay women soccer players equally. The campaign has been well received, gathering roughly 60,000 signatures in the first 24 hours since the online petition was initiated. Ultraviolet founder Shaunna Thomas weighed in on the topic adding:

“It’s a testament to how popular women’s soccer actually is and a reflection of the fact that this is not some marginal side-show for FIFA.” But FIFA has described the push for equal pay for women as “nonsense.’

If women continue to dominate in their sports and attract large audiences, it will be a matter of time before there will be large raises in their future. So while the USWNT enjoyed their Tuesday victory parade in California and gear up for their Friday parade in New York City, the topic that will be foremost on their minds is equal pay for better-than-equal work and results.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a senior writer and a licensed insurance professional partnered with HealthMarkets. Follow me @GloverIsGood on Twitter.com. Check out www.HealthMarkets.com/cglover for your health insurance questions and concerns.

Is the US going after FIFA for corruption or for losing 2022 hosting rights?

 

Sepp Blatter, FIFA President

Sepp Blatter, FIFA President was elected to a fifth term on Friday, May 29, despite multiple arrests of FIFA officials on Wednesday, May 27.

By Carmen Glover

It would be an understatement to say that genuine football (soccer to some) purists are extremely unhappy with the recent developments that have tarnished the beautiful game which is beloved by millions across the globe. Yet, the extreme views and reactions that have peppered social media will do nothing to address the deep-seated issues that have bubbled to the top this past week and those that have yet to be tackled.

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch is flanked by officials in a theatrical announcement of action taken to rid FIFA of corruption.

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch is flanked by officials in a theatrical announcement of action taken to rid FIFA of corruption.

On Wednesday, May 27, the US Justice Department arrested several FIFA officials on charges of corruption, racketeering and accepting more than $150 in bribes to vote for World Cup hosting rights and special access. The FIFA officials did not include FFIA President Sepp Blatter, who has worked with FIFA for more than 40 years and served as president for 17, during a period of increasing corruption. However, the US Justice Department indicated that its investigation has been underway for 20 years. What took the crusading US Justice Department so long, especially since corruption has been synonymous with FIFA since before Blatter’s reign at the organization’s helm?

Announcing the arrests, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the actions were taken because the FIFA officials “were entrusted with keeping soccer open and accessible to all, to protect the integrity of the game. Instead, they corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to protect their interests and enrich themselves.” Citing the scope of the investigation she said: “This Department of Justice is determined to end these practices, root out corruption and to bring wrongdoers to justice.”

Fifa Arrests

L-R FIFA officials who were arrested include: Jose Maria Marin, 83 (Brazil); Rafael Esquivel, 68 (Venezuela); Eduardo Li, 56 (Costa Rica); Nicolas Leoz, 86 (Paraguay); Julio Rocha, 64, Nicaragua; Eugenio Figueredo, 83, (Uruguay); Jack Warner, 72, Trinidad and Tobago and Jeffrey Webb, 50 Cayman Islands.

Among those arrested or indicted are: Jack Warner, former FIFA vice president, 72, of Trinidad and Tobago and CONCACAF executive and Jeffrey Webb, 50, a FIFA vice president from the Cayman Islands. US football official Charles Blazer, who formerly served CONCACAF, was profiled in the New York Daily News in November 2014 in an article indicating that he was cooperating with the FBI in hopes of minimizing his sentence as the investigation progressed. Blazer, in conjunction with Warner, was  charged with accepting $10 million in bribes to secure World Cup hosting rights for South Africa in 2010.

In response to the US action, Swiss officials have followed suit, initiating its own investigation into FIFA’s practices by raiding FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich. But, despite the dramatic optics, it appears as if very little will change. The 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting sites will not be moved and, on Friday, May 29, Blatter was re-elected to his fifth term as president of FIFA, with FIFA executives roundly rejecting US interference.

US informant Charles Blazer in happier times with FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

US informant Charles Blazer in happier times with FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

“I am the president, the president of everybody,” a gleeful Blatter crowed after he was re-elected by a margin of 133 to 73, failing to garner the two third majority of the votes required. His challenger, Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, who was supported by the USA and European bloc, withdrew his candidacy at the beginning of the second round of voting, when it became apparent that the solid bloc of voters from Africa and Asia would remain staunchly in Blatter’s corner, much to the chagrin of the USA and the European contingent who were supporting Ali’s presidential bid.

Not one to hold his tongue, Blatter has accused the England and the USA of having a vendetta against FIFA because they lost hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments, respectively. Many football lovers who understand the impact of the sport share his view, while at the same time, recognize that FIFA is, in fact, quite corrupt. The issue for many football lovers is that FIFA has become more corrupt during the 17 years that Blatter has been its president, yet Blatter was untouched by the US justice team.

fifaworldcupsouthafrica

Also, FIFA has invested very heavily in Africa and Asia, even hosting the 2010 World Cup tournament in South Africa, alleged bribery aside, when for years only select, primarily European countries have had that honor. So while on the surface there is recognition that corruption exists within FIFA, the often ignored nations, many of which are in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, will cautiously support any leader who is perceived to be more inclined to give them a bigger slice of the football pie. And, despite his many flaws, it is not a coincidence that under Blatter’s leadership, FIFA has spotlighted  football in developing countries and promoted their expertise in the sport.

The football product in England has been declining in quality for years, and England’s abysmal performance in the 2014 World Cup tournament did nothing to help that country’s reputation, when taken in context with the awful conduct of British fans at football games. The USA, for its part, has been aching for football relevance ever since it began to compete in the beautiful game and with each staging of the World Cup, the USA women continue to outperform the men’s squad.

In Qatar, migrant workers have died at a rate of more than one per day, according to reports, as they prepare for the World Cup.

In Qatar, migrant workers have died at a rate of more than one per day, according to reports, as they prepare for the World Cup.

And it is undoubtedly a bitter pill for such a powerful nation to swallow but football (which the US has re-named soccer to the anger of football purists), is a sport that comes naturally to residents of countries such as Caribbean and African nations, Brazil, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands and countless others. It is the premier sport in those countries, not an extra sport with minimal cultural relevance as it is in the US. For that basic reason, the USA football team is generally viewed internationally with skepticism, despite its wise decision to hire a fine German coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, a distinguished former World Cup football star and World Cup winner.

So when US Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced with much fanfare, the arrests of numerous FIFA executives in Zurich on May 27, as they were convening for FIFA Congress, as well as officials of CONCACAF (of which the US is a member), the actions were viewed with a mixture of joy (US soccer fans), anger and disappointment (traditional football fans).

Members of the Swiss UNIA workers union display red cards and shout slogans during a protest in front of the headquarters of soccer's international governing body FIFA in Zurich . FIFA's executive committee  met in Zurich on Thursday and Friday, re-electing Sepp Blatter to his fifth term. The world cup will not be moved from Qatar despite the heat. Qatar has also been hit by criticism of its treatment of migrant workers after reports that Nepalese workers have died in recent weeks. The red cards read 'Red card for FIFA - No World Cup without human rights.'  REUTERS

Members of the Swiss UNIA workers union display red cards and shout slogans during a protest in front of the headquarters of soccer’s international governing body FIFA in Zurich . FIFA’s executive committee met in Zurich on Thursday and Friday, re-electing Sepp Blatter to his fifth term. The world cup will not be moved from Qatar despite the heat. Qatar has also been hit by criticism of its treatment of migrant workers after reports that Nepalese workers have died in recent weeks. The red cards read ‘Red card for FIFA – No World Cup without human rights.’ REUTERS

The reason is simple: Genuine football fans want the game to thrive and continue to be exciting. They also want to root out corruption where it occurs. But, because the US lost the bid to host the 2022 World Cup tournament, the motives of the US Justice Department seem suspect, as if the US is determined to destroy FIFA and the game of football because they did not get what they wanted and what they felt they deserved: the right to host the World Cup.

Do England and the USA have the facilities to host successful World Cup tournaments? Unquestionably they do. Is World Cup Football as popular in the USA as it is in say, a tiny island like Jamaica? Absolutely not! And therein lies the USA dilemma–a country with the money to buy whatever it wants, cannot buy the love for a sport that is second nature to smaller countries.

Football (soccer to some), used to play the beautiful game.

Football (soccer to some), used to play the beautiful game.

England, with its inferior football product, boorish and racist fans, has lost the luster that it once had as a soccer powerhouse. But while Brazil had an inferior team in the 2014 World Cup, it will always be viewed as a more deserving host site, Brazil is also more representative for the tournament than the US or England because of its dominance in the sport and its rich tradition of wining the most World Cup tournaments while making the game exciting and fun to watch.

The actions taken by the US Justice Department seem high-handed at best, and vindictive at worst. There is no merit to the argument that FIFA is corrupt if the president who has led the organization during its most corrupt years is still in charge, still has the support of a large bloc of his member nations, and, by all appearances, seems to be defiant and untouchable. What has the US Justice Department achieved with the recent arrests except to insert itself into the realm of a sporting hierarchy but leaving the head untouched? For his part, Blatter has pledged pending reforms, but does anyone really believe him?

Migrant workers have died at a rate of at least one per day in Qatar, under horrific condtions.

Migrant workers have died at a rate of at least one per day in Qatar, under horrific conditions.

 

fifa world cup trophy

FIFA World Cup Trophy

As social media exploded with Blatter’s re-election by demanding a boycott of the sport, one thing remained painfully clear: Far too many so-called sports fans lack a basic understanding of World Cup football and all the nuances and machinations involved. Most significantly, there is skepticism that the alleged monetary misconduct perpetuated by FIFA officials ensnared by Lynch and her team trump the hundreds of death by migrant workers who are working in Qatar in preparation for its hosting duties.

The question should be asked: Is the US really comfortable sending the message that arresting FIFA officials takes precedence over taking a leadership role in advocating for the rights of the migrant workers in Qatar who have unwittingly sacrificed their lives to enrich wealthy men? Or is the US blinded by rage that they lost hosting rights and so embarrassing FIFA through arrests and ridicule is all that matters? Only the US knows for sure.–OnPointPress.net.

World Cup Group of 16, Knockout Round, gets underway 6/28-7/1

Brazil's World Cup team.

Brazil’s World Cup team.

By Carmen Glover

An exciting, unpredictable, first round of the 2014 World Cup football (soccer to some) tournament ended with the USA team gaining entry to the Knockout Round of 16 while football powerhouses Ghana, Portugal, Italy, England and defending champions Spain made quick exits amidst a cloud of questions about their future. Will they revamp their rosters? Will they hire new coaches? For all the hype that surrounded Portugal’s Cristiana Ronaldo, dubbed the best player in the world, he was a colossal bust and seemed to be more concerned with preening than delivering for his team and his ball club.

Costa Rica's World Cup Team.

Costa Rica’s World Cup Team.

It remains to be seen what steps will be taken to make the early exiting teams more competitive for World Cup 2018. While the exiting teams sort out their next steps, the Knockout Round for the 2014 World Cup begins and excitement appears to be at a fever pitch, especially for the American team which has won new fans, after doing what seemed like the impossible by making it out of the Group of Death, and the Costa Rican team which emerged from the Group of Champions in first place, despite being the only team in that group that has never won the World Cup trophy.

The USA World Cup Team.

The USA World Cup Team.

The Knockout Round features 16 teams who will face fierce competition as each team tries to advance to the other rounds that bring them closer to the finals. The winning team will advance while the losing team will head home. No second match. No chance for redemption. The first match of the Knockout Round will feature Brazil taking on Chile on Saturday at 12 noon on Channel 7 while Uruguay takes on Colombia at 4: 00 p.m. In the meantime, perennial bad boy Luis Suarez, was banned for four months from all World Cup and football related events and fined $112, 000 for yet another biting incident, for which he seems totally unremorseful. So he will not play against Colombia and will not play in early games for his Liverpool club.

The Nigerian World Cup Team.

The Nigerian World Cup Team.

So far in the World Cup tournament, the African teams have not done well. Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon have returned home after poor showings, while Nigeria and Algeria are still in the mix. One of the problems this World Cup faces with perception is the total exclusion of English-speaking Caribbean nations, which is an issue that has garnered a great deal of attention and is expected to generate heated debate when the tournament ends. The schedule of the Knockout Round is as follows:

The Netherlands' World Cup Team.

The Netherlands’ World Cup Team.

Saturday, June 28, Brazil vs. Chile on Channel 7 and Univision at 12:00 noon, Colombia vs. Uruguay at 4;00 p.m. On Sunday, June 29, Netherlands vs. Mexico at 12 noon on ESPN, and Univision; Costa Rica vs. Greece at 4;00 p.m. Monday, June 30, France vs. Nigeria at 12:00 noon on ESPN and Univision and Germany vs. Algeria at 4;00 p.m. On Tuesday, Argentina vs. Switzerland at 12:00 noon on ESPN and Univision and USA vs. Belgium at 4:00 p.m.

If you have not had a chance to catch the matches so far, treat yourself to what will be an intense, nail-biting Knockout Round that will provide unmatched entertainment. Happy viewing! –OnPointPress.net.

World Cup begins as controversy swirls around Brazil, Qatar, FIFA

FIFA World Cup Trophy, Team, Players Wallpaper.

FIFA World Cup Trophy and players who will be participating in the tournament.

By Carmen Glover

Soccer fans around the world can finally borrow a line from rapper Fabolous or country singer Faith Hill and “Breathe!” Yes, the beautiful game of soccer, known around the world as football, will be on full display today, as the tournament opens on June 12 in Brazil. The World Cup is expecting to attract significant attention since it is being hosted in the country which has won the most titles, five in all, making Brazil soccer’s home.

Brazil's players line up for a team photo before their Confederations Cup Group A soccer match against Japan at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia June 15, 2013. (Front row L to R) Oscar, Dani Alves, Marcelo, Paulinho, Neymar, Luis Gustavo, (back row L to R) Julio Cesar, David Luiz, Fred, Hulk and Thiago Silva. REUTERS/Jorge Silva (BRAZIL  - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

Brazil’s players line up for a team photo before their Confederations Cup Group A soccer match against Japan at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia June 15, 2013. (Front row L to R) Oscar, Dani Alves, Marcelo, Paulinho, Neymar, Luis Gustavo, (back row L to R) Julio Cesar, David Luiz, Fred, Hulk and Thiago Silva. REUTERS/Jorge Silva (BRAZIL – Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

The Brazilian team, which is hoping to lead its country to its sixth World Cup, will play its opening game against Croatia at 4:00 p.m. in an unfinished stadium. The fame will be played amid protests from the Brazilian locals and controversy about corruption in FIFA and Qatar, the site for the 2018 World Cup. Despite the tumultuous period leading up to the World Cup opening day, FIFA President Sepp Blatter was re-elected to the top position this week, again proving that FIFA is its own fiefdom.

Sepp Blatter holds the FiFA Code of Ethics aloft after being re-elected as President this week.

Sepp Blatter holds the FiFA Code of Ethics aloft after being re-elected as President this week.

While discussions rage about the necessity for a revote in light of the corruption allegations about Qatar, Brazilian locals have been vocal and spirited in expressing their disgust with FIFA, the World Cup’s governing body, and the organizing committee in Brazil. Brazilians protested again on Tuesday, June 10 and Wednesday, June 11, even as teams were arriving for the World Cup, in a sign that protests will frame the backdrop of the games this year. Some teams, including the US national team, cancelled their practice matches due to concerns about congestion and safety.

Protestors in Brazil are pepper sprayed by police officers on Monday, as World Cup teams arrive for the game.

Protestors in Brazil are pepper sprayed by police officers on Tuesday, as World Cup teams arrive for the game.

The protestors have argued that instead of investing the more than $10 billion in preparing to host the World Cup, the focus should have been placed on crumbling infrastructure, poorly funded education, transportation and social sectors. Also, they have suggested that rampant improprieties took place with the World Cup funding, because the results suggest that massive theft of World Cups funds occurred, resulting in incomplete stadiums and tournament facilities while the funds promised to local Brazilian projects failed to materialize.

Brazilians continue to protest against misuse of funds for stadiums at the expense of basic programs such as education, healthcare and transportation.

Brazilians continue to protest against misuse of funds for stadiums at the expense of basic programs such as education, healthcare and transportation.

To say the protests and controversy is an inconvenience for FIFA and Brazil is an understatement. After all, Brazil possesses the most World Cup victories of any other nation, and is universally regarded as the country which pioneered the style of play that is often described as exuding finesse and beauty. For the residents of Brazil to organize years long protests is the last thing that FIFA, its president Sepp Blatter, the Brazilian organizing committee and soccer fans would expect.

pele

Soccer legend Pele, regarded by many as the best soccer star to ever play the game, has been a member of the organizing committee in Brazil but has been just as vocal in expressing his disgust with the incomplete World Cup infrastructure, the protests and alleged theft of funds.

Brazilian soccer icon Pele incurred the protestors’ wrath recently when he stated that the protests should have been staged in 2007 when the announcement was made that Brazil would host the World Cup, rather than in the months and days leading up to the tournament. Still, despite the protests and anger that now add to the World Cup flavor, the Brazilian team is expected to lead their country to the World Cup trophy so the players have danced a fine line between supporting the protestors’ right to protest, while seeking their support as the games get underway.

Aftermath of flood in Brazil which caused the deaths of more than 9 people on the eve of the World Cup games.

Aftermath of flood in Brazil which caused the deaths of more than 9 people on the eve of the World Cup games.

This is by no means an easy feat, as the eyes of the world are trained firmly on Brazil, now privy to all the problems that were not as publicized in the past.On Wednesday, one day before the World Cup, severe flooding left more than nine Brazilians dead, according to Good Morning America, further complicating the feverish attempts to salvage the pre-game preparations.

Anti-government protesters demonstrate at the security perimeter two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the Castelao stadium in Fortaleza where Spain and Italy are to clash in their FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 semifinal football match, on June 27, 2013. Riot and mounted police set up roadblocks on access roads leading to the stadium as several thousand young demonstrators peacefully rallied outside Ceara State University in Fortaleza Thursday, hours before the match. Nationwide anti-government protests in Brazil initially focused on a hike in transport fares before mushrooming to encompass a variety of gripes including corruption and the lack of investment in health and education as well as to denounce the high costs of hosting the Confederations Cup and next year's World Cup.   AFP PHOTO / YASUYOSHI CHIBA        (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)

Anti-government protesters demonstrate at the security perimeter two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the Castelao stadium in Fortaleza on June 27, 2013. Riot and mounted police set up roadblocks on access roads leading to the stadium as several thousand young demonstrators peacefully rallied outside Ceara State University in Fortaleza. Nationwide anti-government protests in Brazil initially focused on a hike in transport fares before mushrooming to encompass a variety of gripes including corruption and the lack of investment in health and education as well as to denounce the high costs of hosting the Confederations Cup and next year’s World Cup. AFP PHOTO / YASUYOSHI CHIBA (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, there has been no shortage of intrigue from some of the other participating teams. Striker Landon Donovan was dropped from the US team by its coach, former German soccer star Jurgen Klinsmann, Rossi was dropped by Italy while Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, still recovering from a leg injury, has voiced his certainty that his team will prevail to win it all. Stay tuned to OnPointPress.net for coverage of the World Cup and the  beautiful game of soccer.-OnPointPress.net.