Players on the U.S. women’s national team are seeking more than $66 million in damages in their gender discrimination lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation. The papers were filed this past Thursday at the Los Angeles U.S. District Court.
The trial date for the lawsuit is set for May 5. Included within these papers were the different previously undisclosed collective bargaining agreements of both the U.S. men and women’s teams. The players from the women’s team first sued the federation last spring, on the grounds of “institutionalized gender discrimination that includes inequitable compensation between the men’s and women’s teams.” The released collective bargaining agreements did indeed illicit the disparities in both bonuses and the pay between the teams.
In response to these allegations, the U.S. Soccer Federation commented, “Women’s national team players are paid differently because they specifically asked for an negotiated a completely different contract than the men’s national team, despite being offered, and rejecting, a similar pay-to-play agreement during the past negotiations.”
Molly Levinson, spokesperson for the women’s team disputed this, asserting, “In the most recent CBA negotiation, USSF repeatedly said that equal pay was not an option regardless of pay structure…USSF proposed a ‘pay to play structure’ with less pay across the board. In every instance for a friendly or competitive or competitive match, the women players were offered less pay than their male counterparts. This is the very definition of gender discrimination, and of course the players rejected it.”
What is clear is that the lawsuit has drawn attention, worldwide and domestically. In France, following the U.S. World Cup victory last summer, fans chanted, “Equal Pay! Equal Pay!” In the U.S., the players union for the men’s national team also urged the federation to increase the pay for the women’s team. Additional statistics about female players’ pay are located here via NBC. The FIFA Women’s World Cup commences June 7 in Paris, and the U.S.’ first match will be against Thailand on June 11.
Sources: NBC 02/21/2020, NBC 03/08/2019, World Soccer Talk 06/30/2019