The entire U.S. Women’s National Team sued the U.S. Soccer Federation on Friday, claiming they are not paid the same as their counterparts on the Men’s National Team, despite performing the same duties – perhaps more successfully.
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In a class-action suit viewed by The Wall Street Journal, all 28 members of the team alleged gender discrimination, affecting not only pay but also where the team played and trained. The complaint was filed on International Women’s Day.
Players allege that U.S. Soccer officials have “gone so far as to claim that ‘market realities are such that the women do not deserve to be paid equally to the men.’”
The U.S. Soccer Federation declined to comment on matters of pending litigation.
The players are requesting back pay and damages.
A similar complaint was made three years ago by five members of the women’s team. A collective bargaining agreement was struck in 2017 whereby players were said to have received raises in base pay and bonuses, among other things, according to The Associated Press.
Making a direct comparison between the salaries of players on the men's and women's teams is difficult since their separate collective bargaining agreements with U.S. Soccer stipulate certain pay structures, as noted by The New York Times.
And while not determined by U.S. Soccer, one area of difference is the World Cup bonuses – where 32 men's teams compete for a pool of $400 million, and 24 women's teams play for $30 million. Those rates are set by FIFA.
Additionally, according to the lawsuit, in 2014, the men's team was awarded about $5.4 million by U.S. Soccer after losing in the sixteenth round of the World Cup. In 2015, the women were given around $1.7 million for winning.
The U.S. women's team has won three FIFA World Cup titles and four Olympic gold medals.
The men’s team has not made it past the World Cup quarterfinals in nearly 90 years.
The women's World Cup kicks off in France in June.