Women's national soccer team players sue for equitable pay

Getty Image

Getty Image

Twenty-eight members of the United States women's national team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation on Friday.

The last time the United States men made the World Cup field, ahead of the 2014 event in Brazil, male players who were named to the roster received a $55,000 bonus, while the women received $15,000 each for making the roster in Canada, according to figures cited in past court documents.

All 28 members of the United States squad were named as plaintiffs in federal court in Los Angeles on International Women's Day and the lawsuit includes complaints about wages and almost every other aspect of their working conditions.

Twenty-eight members of the women's team are named as plaintiffs, including numerous sport's biggest stars: Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe.

A pay disparity was very apparent at the World Cup: In 2014, the federation gave the men's roster a performance bonus of almost $5.4 million after the USA went out in the round of 16 in Brazil.

"Each of us is extremely proud to wear the United States jersey, and we also take seriously the responsibility that comes with that", U.S. forward Alex Morgan said in a statement.

The US players association said it was not a party to the lawsuit but "supports the plaintiffs' goal of eliminating gender-based discrimination". The 28 members of the current national team player pool joined in the class-action lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation. "For its part, the USWNTPA will continue to seek improvements in pay and working conditions through the labor-management and collective bargaining processes".

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"We wait on US Soccer to respond to both players associations with a way to move forward with fair and equal compensation for all US soccer players".

The players, including top stars like Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, and Carli Lloyd, are accusing the USSF of "institutionalized gender discrimination", which affects every part of their jobs - and lives - as soccer players.

The U.S. Women's National Team, or USWNT, has consistently been more successful than the men's team. While the USSF and USWNT reached an agreement in April 2017 on a five-year collective bargaining agreement, the complaint was still outstanding.

The lawsuit details how the pay gap plays out in myriad ways: women's players paid less for each "friendly" match, they're paid less for making the team's World Cup roster, and they're paid much less for their performance at the World Cup.

A group of players filed a complaint in 2016 with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that alleged wage discrimination by the federation.

The agreement covered the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup and the 2020 Olympics.

"In reality, the USSF has utterly failed to promote gender equality", the lawsuit reads. According to the New York Times, there has been no movement on the EEOC complaint for three years, which is what led the players to file their lawsuit. When the deal was announced, CNN reported that in addition to better pay and bigger bonuses, the women received better hotel and travel accommodations and would be reimbursed for the years when their per diems were less than those of the men.

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