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.

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."

Phil Neville acknowledges he has been flattered by reported interest from the United States women's team but insists there has been no approach from the world champions.

Neville guided England to the semi-finals of this year's Women's World Cup, where they lost to the USA.

Victorious coach Jill Ellis will leave her role with USA at the end of October, though, and reports in England this week claimed Neville was a leading candidate.

But the ex-Manchester United defender, who is under contract with the Football Association until 2021, says his focus is on the 2020 Olympic Games, where he will lead Great Britain.

"There's been no approach," Neville told BBC Sport after England's 2-1 friendly defeat to Norway. "My focus is on winning us a gold medal in the Olympics.

"Beyond that, it's flattering because it means you're doing a good job. But my focus is England. I love this job, as I said before the game, and we've got a big job to do.

"We can see over the last two games [including a draw with Belgium last week] that the work is still in progress and we've still got a long way to go."

Neville was this week nominated for the FIFA's Best award for the top women's coach.

Afterwards, speaking ahead of the Norway game, the former England international defended his record and claimed England were lucky to have him.

"I have a vision that nobody else has," he said. "I've got bravery that no other coach has probably had.

"So, do you know what? Thank your lucky stars. I'm here. I'm here to stay. And I'm going to continue to keep improving.

"I've got a long way to go but I think, with the set of players we've got and with my philosophy, I think we can go a long way. I live and breathe it."

Eight countries remain interested in hosting the 2023 Women's World Cup as they prepare to submit a bid book to FIFA later this year.

FIFA confirmed the eight-strong shortlist for the tournament, which will be the first finals to feature 32 teams.

Japan are the only former champions to register a continued interest, while Brazil - who hosted the 2014 men's World Cup - are also on the list alongside Australia.

There is further South American representation from Argentina and Colombia. New Zealand and 2010 men's hosts South Africa are set to make a bid, too.

South Korea is the final country in contention, although the Korea Football Association has expressed its interest in a joint bid with North Korea.

There had been a record 10 interested parties prior to Monday's deadline to enter the bidding process, with Belgium - leaving no European options, months on from France 2019 - and Bolivia dropping out.

FIFA has dispatched the updated bidding and hosting documents, with bid books, signed hosting agreements and all other documents to be submitted by December 13.

Other countries hoping to join an existing bid can do so until this date.

FIFA inspections are set for January and February of next year, with the hosts to be officially appointed in May.

Belgium have become a record 10th potential bidder for the 2023 Women's World Cup, FIFA has announced.

The next finals will be expanded to 32 teams for the first time, with an unprecedented 10 member associations now officially considering staging the tournament.

Interest in hosting had already been confirmed by Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa, while there is also a joint bid from South Korea and North Korea on the table.

The deadline to join the bidding process was pushed back after FIFA confirmed an increase in teams taking part from 24 to 32.

Member associations now have until September 2 to inform FIFA if they wish to be entered into the bidding process.

After that deadline, interested parties have three months to put together bid books, with May 2020 set as the expected date of the final announcement.

The United States won the 2019 tournament in France, beating Netherlands in the final to defend their title.

China, Canada, Germany, Sweden and USA are the other countries to have acted as Women's World Cup hosts.

Lyon trio Ada Hegerberg, Lucy Bronze and Amandine Henry have been nominated for the UEFA Women's Player of the Year award.

Hegerberg won the inaugural Ballon d'Or Feminin last year and will look to add the UEFA prize to her collection, having finished as runner-up in 2017-18 to Denmark and Wolfsburg striker Pernille Harder.

The 24-year-old dazzled as Lyon won their 13th consecutive French title last season, scoring 20 goals in as many top-flight appearances along with seven in nine Champions League outings – crowning a magnificent campaign with a hat-trick in the 4-1 final victory over Barcelona in Budapest.

However, Hegerberg did not participate in the World Cup, having not represented Norway since the 2017 European Championship due to frustrations over the standing of the women's game in her homeland.

Lyon colleague Bronze did feature in France, playing a starring role in England's second consecutive run to the semi-finals.

The former Manchester City right-back is the first English nominee for the award.

Midfielder Henry completes the nominees having finished third behind Harder and Hegerberg last time around.

Henry was runner-up in 2014-15 and 2015-16 – to Hegerberg on the latter occasion – making her four nominations a new record in the award's seventh year.

The Women's World Cup will expand from 24 teams to 32 beginning with the next tournament in 2023, FIFA announced on Wednesday.

The FIFA Council unanimously approved the proposal to increase the field by eight teams, which Gianni Infantino said was in response to the "astounding success" of the 2019 edition.

Infantino said: "[The World Cup in France] made it very clear that this is the time to keep the momentum going and take concrete steps to foster the growth of women's football. I am glad to see this proposal - the first of several - becoming a reality."

As the bidding process for the 2023 tournament has already started, the FIFA Council decided not to wait until its next scheduled meeting in Shanghai in October to make the decision.

The timeline set forth in Wednesday's announcement said existing bidders must reconfirm their interest in hosting, while any other eligible member associations can now express interest too.

Bid submissions are due by December, an evaluation report will be made by April 2020 and the appointment of the host or hosts is expected the following month.

"The expansion reaches far beyond the eight additional participating teams; it means that, from now on, dozens more member associations will organise their women's football programme knowing they have a realistic chance of qualifying," Infantino said.

"The FIFA Women's World Cup is the most powerful trigger for the professionalisation of the women's game, but it comes but once every four years and is only the top of a much greater pyramid.

"In the meantime, we all have a duty to do the groundwork and strengthen women's football development infrastructure across all confederations."

The nine parties interested in hosting are Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and a joint bid from South Korea and North Korea.

United States star Megan Rapinoe and three of her international team-mates are among 12 nominees for the Best FIFA Women's Player Award for 2019.

A first-time recipient will be named in Milan on September 23 after former winners Marta, Lieke Martens and Carli Lloyd all failed to make the shortlist.

Reign FC forward Rapinoe shapes as a strong contender after inspiring USA to glory at the Women's World Cup in France.

The 34-year-old scored six goals in five games, including one in the 2-0 victory over Netherlands in the final, to claim a Golden Ball-Golden Boot double.

Rapinoe's compatriots Alex Morgan, Rose Lavelle and Julie Ertz are also in contention, as are England pair Ellen White and Lucy Bronze, who claimed the Silver Ball.

Right-back Bronze and striker Ada Hegerberg, last year's inaugural Women's Ballon d'Or winner, feature among four players from the Lyon side that won the Women's Champions League.

The list of contenders has been expanded to 12 from the usual 10 due to a tie in the number of votes received by some nominees.

 

The Best FIFA Women's Player nominees:

Lucy Bronze (Lyon & England)
Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars & United States)
Caroline Graham Hansen (Barcelona & Norway)
Ada Hegerberg (Lyon)
Amandine Henry (Lyon & France)
Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars & Australia)
Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit & United States)
Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal & Netherlands)
Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride & United States)
Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC & United States)
Wendie Renard (Lyon & France)
Ellen White (Manchester City & England)

Women's World Cup winners the United States will soon have a new head coach after Jill Ellis confirmed she is stepping down.

Ellis is quitting just weeks after leading the USA to a successful defence of the World Cup title, U.S. Soccer announced on Tuesday.

She plans to stay with the national team for their five-game victory tour, which starts on Saturday against the Republic of Ireland at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, and will end in early October.

"The opportunity to coach this team and work with these amazing women has been the honour of a lifetime," Ellis said in a statement.

"I want to thank and praise them for their commitment and passion to not only win championships but also raise the profile of this sport globally while being an inspiration to those who will follow them.

"When I accepted the head coaching position this was the time frame I envisioned. The timing is right to move on, and the programme is positioned to remain at the pinnacle of women's soccer.

"Change is something I have always embraced in my life, and for me and my family this is the right moment."

The move comes as no great surprise, with Ellis' contract expiring on Wednesday, though there was an option to extend her stay through next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

While this is the end of her USWNT coaching career, Ellis will continue to work with the federation for at least the next year in the role of an ambassador, representing U.S. Soccer at various events.

The 52-year-old became the eighth head coach of the national team when she took over in 2014 after serving two separate stints as interim coach. She replaced Tom Sermanni after his dismissal.

United States forward Megan Rapinoe has echoed Serena Williams' comments on equal pay amid the Women's World Cup winners' ongoing fight for parity with the men's team.

Rapinoe scored the opening goal as USA beat Netherlands 2-0 in the World Cup final to retain their title during a tournament where the 34-year-old became a global icon.

The attacker also had a war of words with US president Donald Trump during the tournament in France after saying she was "not going to the f****** White House".

American players have been embroiled in an argument over equal pay with governing body U.S. Soccer for many years.

After losing the Wimbledon final to Simona Halep on Saturday, tennis great Williams bristled at a suggestion she should scale back her efforts to fight equal pay in order to concentrate on matching Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam singles titles.

And Rapinoe, speaking in an interview on NBC on Sunday, backed her fellow American and insisted she will also not be changing her outspoken approach.

"You know what? I'm gonna fight for equal pay every day, for myself, for my team, and for every single person out there," said Rapinoe.

"Man, woman, immigrant, US citizen, person of colour, whatever it may be. 'Equal pay,' as the great Serena Williams said, 'til I'm in my grave'."

Rapinoe, whose partner is basketball player Sue Bird, also defended her previous comments on Trump when asked what she would say to her fans who support the president and believe she should go to the White House.

She added: "I would try to share our message. Do you believe that all people are created equal? Do you believe that equal pay should be mandated?

"Do you believe that everyone should have health care? Do you believe that we should treat everyone with respect? Those are the basics of what we're talking about.

"I understand people feel upset or uncomfortable. There's feelings of disrespect about the anthem protest or things that I've said in the past. Ultimately, I am here, open and honest.

"I've admitted mistakes. I will continue to do that. I'll continue to be vulnerable and be honest and open and have that conversation."

The United States have opened up the biggest gap at the top of the women's FIFA rankings in history following their World Cup triumph.

Jill Ellis' side won their second successive title last Sunday with a 2-0 victory over Netherlands in the final in Lyon.

They remain in first place in the international standings but now boast a record gap of 121 points over second-place Germany, who lost to Sweden in the quarter-finals.

Runners-up Netherlands are up five places to third, their best ever position, while bronze medallists Sweden climb three places to sixth.

France stay fourth, with England, beaten by USA in the semi-finals and then Sweden in the third-place play-off match, slip two places to fifth.

The biggest movers are the Philippines (67th place, up seven) and India (57th place, up six), who are rewarded for strong showings in qualifying for next year's Olympic Games.

The list now comprises 158 teams, up from 155, which is also an all-time record.

Assistant Referees Stephanie-Dale Yee Sing and Princess Brown are basking in the glory of World Cup heaven.

The Jamaicans are back home after an exemplary stint at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France where Concacaf giant the USA retained its title after blanking The Netherlands 2-0 in Lyon on July 7th.

Yee Sing and Brown, who were among eight Assistant Referees and five Referees representing Concacaf at the showpiece, top of their performance with doing duty in the semi-final match between The Netherlands and Sweden.

The Jamaicans supported Canada’s Soleil Beaudoin, who was in charge in the middle.

The pair continues to be the region's standard bearers, after last year becoming the first Caribbean officials — male or female — to feature in a World Cup final at the Under-17 tournament in Uruguay.

Prior to being awarded one of the two semi-finals, the team of Brown and Yee Sing, along with Beaudoin, officiated three other games with distinction.

It started on June 8 with the Group B clash between Germany and China at Roazhon Park, Rennes, followed by the June 17 Group A fixture between Norway and South Korea at Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims.

Their next assignment came on June 23, the Round of 16  between host France and Brazil at Stade Océane, Le Havre. The team was also reserved for two other contests.

Both Brown and Yee Sing are floating on Cloud Nine after the magical, life-changing experience.

“It was a great moment and an honor for us, it was also a challenge. We knew that we had to go out there and we had to work very hard to get another game, so we took it one game at a time to achieve our goal.

“I was really surprised (when we got the semi-finals) because you have other referees who were there who had a lot of World Cup experience, and for us to be there it was a great privilege,” noted Brown, the more experienced of the two.

 Brown, who rose from the deep rural Jamaican community of Mosquito Bottom in St Elizabeth parish, had made her debut at a global event when she officiated in one match at the Fifa Women's World Cup Canada 2015.

The Jamaican made an observation on the use of the cutting edge Video Assistant Referee (VAR), which, on review, overturned an off-side call by her in France. 

“It's a different system and you have to know how to work with VAR. I had a decision with VAR and I felt bad in myself not making the right decision because even though you have help, you want to make the decision on your own, but it is an experience and I was glad that VAR was there to correct me and I just have to move on from that,” Brown noted.

Yee Sing described the overall experience as “an amazing feeling”.

“It was my first World Cup and it surpassed what I went there to do, so I am happy about this accomplishment.

“We took it one game at a time, but to be doing a semi-final, I said to Princess I think I am a small fry compared to the other referees that were there. So I was totally surprised that I got to do a semi-final on my first attempt and I am really proud of that,” Yee Sing noted.

She said while it was her first time performing at the highest level, she was neither intimated nor fearful.

“There was no fear to make my calls because from what we learn at home, training should reflect the game and everything that we did in training is basically what came out in the game and our referee gave us that confidence in ourselves to make decisions and help her to make decisions, so we could look good as a team.

“So basically it is what we have been doing in training and how they see our growth, how we perform each game and how we improve on whatever task they gave us that may have resulted in us getting the semi-finals. And to be honest, they told us we exceeded their expectation, just as how we exceeded our own expectations,” she said.

Megan Rapinoe hailed her United States team-mates as an example for the country to follow but told a huge crowd celebrating their Women's World Cup triumph that she will not be running for president, saying: "I'm busy."

During the victory parade through New York, the 34-year-old forward stoked the fire of her spat with president Donald Trump, which began during the tournament when she said that she and her colleagues would not be going to the White House if they lifted the trophy.

Having helped defend the title on French soil, Rapinoe reiterated her stance when it comes to visiting the president - a job she cheekily rejected was in her future plans.

"I couldn’t be more proud to be a co-captain of this team with Carli [Lloyd] and Alex [Morgan]," she said. "It's an absolute honour to lead this team out on the field.

"There's no other place I would rather be. Even in a presidential race. I'm busy, I'm sorry."

Trump had previously addressed Rapinoe's comments on Twitter, calling on the player to "WIN first before she TALKS!" in a post.

Having risen to the challenge, Rapinoe resisted the temptation to fire back at Trump but offered no apology. She did, however, call for everyone to come together and make the world a "better place".

"There has been so much contention in these last years. I've been a victim of that, I've been a perpetrator of that," she said.

"We had a fight with the federation – I'm sorry for some of the things I said. Not all of the things.

"We have to be better. We have to love more, hate less. We have to listen more, talk less. We have to know that it is everyone's responsibility. It's our responsibility to make this world a better place.

"I think this team does an incredible job of taking that on our shoulders and understanding the position we have and the platform we have in this world. It's time to come together. We have to collaborate. My charge to everybody - do what you can.

"If this team is any representation of what you can be when you do that, please take this as an example. This group is incredible. Yes we play sports, yes we play soccer, yes we're female athletes, but we're so much more than that."

The United States have been told they risk losing their status as the best team in women's football if the "starvation wages" in their domestic league are not addressed.

USA won a fourth Women's World Cup title in Lyon on Sunday, retaining the trophy with a 2-0 victory over Netherlands after knocking out European heavyweights France and England in the previous two rounds.

Megan Rapinoe, the tournament's Golden Boot and Golden Ball winner, once again spoke about the disparity in prize money between the women's and men's finals afterwards, with USA's players taking home $4million compared to the $38m France accrued for winning the men's World Cup in Russia last year.

There is also a huge gap between the top domestic leagues in America, where the minimum and maximum salaries for this NWSL season are $16,538 and $46,200 respectively, compared to the minimum in MLS of $56,250 and the maximum, which will be paid to LA Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, of $7.2m.

Each of the 23 players in Jill Ellis' World Cup-winning squad ply their trade in NWSL - though their salaries are subsidised by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and include payments for their international feats - and former USA coach Anson Dorrance wants greater investment at the professional level.

Dorrance, who led USA to their maiden World Cup triumph in 1991 and coached the likes of Crystal Dunn and Tobin Heath at the collegiate level in his current role at North Carolina, told Omnisport: "An entry-level professional is paid $16,500 a year in the NWSL. That's starvation wages. 

"I would love to see more and more women start to make the sort of money we're seeing on the men's side."

While USA were able to see off the challenge of the Europeans this time, the other seven World Cup quarter-finalists all came from the continent and the balance of power may have shifted by 2023.

There has been increased investment in the women's game in Europe in recent years, major clubs like Lyon, Barcelona, Juventus and Manchester City all significantly backing their women's teams.

"We're going to be in trouble if we don't create a league that competes with what the Europeans are doing now," added Shannon Higgins-Cirovski, who was a key member of the World Cup-winning team in 1991.

"Hats off to us at this point, [but] I'm hoping we can create something from this momentum and make it so we don't have to worry about that."

Rapinoe said after USA's win on Sunday that FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who had revealed plans to double the prize money for the next Women's World Cup, wants to speak to her about the financial matters after fans chanted "equal pay" at the final.

There will also be conversations between USSF and Ellis' players over the pay gap between USA's men's and women's teams, with the newly crowned World Cup winners having instigated legal action against the federation earlier this year for alleged gender discrimination over earnings and working conditions.

Dorrance wants to see equality, but also greater transparency over the revenue generated by the two teams given reports suggest the women bring in more than their male counterparts.

"[The USFF should] have a very transparent set of accounting books to show exactly what happens," Dorrance added.

"This is how many people watched this Women's World Cup game in the United States, here were the sponsorship dollars and here's how we're going to reward our women that have just won the event. I would love for that to become clearer.

"In terms of per diem, there should be no difference, those should be the same, then your rewards should be based on what you make.

"I don't think all of a sudden these women should be paid the amount of money Christian Pulisic is paid [by Chelsea] because of the crowd he's played in front of at Borussia Dortmund and what he will play in front of at Chelsea.

"But I would love for it to be transparent and for them to be paid what they're worth."

Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations to the United States for their Women's World Cup triumph on Sunday, but whether he hosts the team at the White House remains to be seen.

USA defeated Netherlands 2-0 to make it back-to-back titles on the global stage, with Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle scoring the goals in the second half.

Shortly after the final whistle, USA president Trump wrote on Twitter: "Congratulations to the U.S. Women's Soccer Team on winning the World Cup! Great and exciting play. America is proud of you all!"

Trump has been outspoken during USA's run in France as he went on a Twitter rant after a video surfaced of Rapinoe making it clear she would not visit the White House should her side end up as champions.

He also called out the 34-year-old, who ended the tournament as winner of the Golden Boot for top goalscorer and Golden Ball for best player, for protesting during the national anthem by refusing to sing or put her hand over her chest. 

He wrote, in part: "Megan should never disrespect our country, the White House, or our flag, especially since so much has been done for her and the team."

There remain questions as to whether the national team will attend the White House if they receive an invite, but head coach Jill Ellis is not convinced any such offer will be made.

When asked if she would attend a celebration at the White House, she said: "I haven't been invited yet." The reporter responded by saying: "I'm sure you will." Ellis, however, said with a laugh: "Well, I wouldn't bet on that."

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