US Soccer resolves USWNT’s equal pay issue

US Soccer resolves USWNT’s equal pay issue

February 24, 2022

World Cup-winning team finally wins battle against pay discrimination.

The US Soccer Federation and US Women’s National Team (USWNT) have finally reached an agreement to settle the long-pending equal pay dispute. Both parties have agreed a US$24 million settlement for the issue which had been pending since 2019.
As per the terms of the settlement, from now on, US Soccer will be paying its men’s and women’s teams at an equal rate for all future games, including both friendlies and tournament matches. The players involved will receive a total of US$22 million, and US Soccer additionally will also pay US$2 million to a USWNT players benefit account which will help the players’ post-career goals and other charitable interests. All players will be able to apply for US$50,000 from the benefit fund.

US Soccer and USWNT released a joint statement, which read:
“We are pleased to announce that, contingent on the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement, we will have resolved our longstanding dispute over equal pay and proudly stand together in a shared commitment to advancing equality in soccer. Getting to this day has not been easy. The US Women’s National Team players have achieved unprecedented success while working to achieve equal pay for themselves and future athletes. Today, we recognize the legacy of the past USWNT leaders who helped to make this day possible, as well as all of the women and girls who will follow. Together, we dedicate this moment to them. We look forward to continuing to work together to grow women’s soccer and advance opportunities for young girls and women in the United States and across the globe.”

Megan Rapinoe, USWNT striker, stated:
“I’m just so proud, to be honest. I’m so proud of all of the hard work that all of us did to get us here.
“It’s a really amazing day. I think we’re going to look back on this day and say this is the moment that, you know, U.S. Soccer changed for the better.
“Obviously we can’t go back and undo the injustices that we faced, but the only justice coming out of this is that we know that something like this is never gonna happen again. We can move forward in making soccer the best sport we can in this country and set up the next generation so much better than we ever had it. … We’re just very excited to have arrived here after a very long and arduous road.”

The equal pay dispute started almost six years ago, when a group of USWNT players filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in which they accused US Soccer of wage discrimination and demanded US$66 million in damages. The complaint was filed by five players – Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn and Hope Solo, who stated that they were being paid less on bonuses, appearance fees and even meal money in training camps. The players also stated that they earned as little as 40 percent of what the men’s national team was earning. Ever since then, it has been an ongoing tussle between the two parties. Two years ago, in May 2020, a United States District Court judge for the Central District of California dismissed the players’ claim for equal pay, but allowed their claims about playing conditions to be heard. The players vowed to fight on.

Alex Morgan, striker and former co-captain, USWNT, also spoke about the settlement, stating:
“I think it was just extremely motivating to see organisations and employers admit their wrongdoing, and us forcing their hand in making it right. The domino effect that we helped kick-start — I think we’re really proud of it.
“What we set out to do was to have acknowledgment of discrimination from U.S. Soccer, and we received that through back pay in the settlement. We set out to have fair and equal treatment in working conditions, and we got that through the working conditions settlement. And we set out to have equal pay moving forward for us and the men’s team through U.S. Soccer, and we achieved that.”

Cindy Parlow Cone, US Soccer President, commented:
“We have a lot of work to do and are continuing to rebuild the relationship with the players.
“We have to come to a solution on the CBA agreements. But the focus now shifts to growing the game from a commercial perspective with our strategic partners, and having the players on our side to go hand in hand and to encourage FIFA to equalise the World Cup prize money.”

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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