U.S. Women's Soccer Team Disputes Equal Pay Offer | Athletic Business

U.S. Women's Soccer Team Disputes Equal Pay Offer

The United States Soccer Federation and the women’s national team are disagreeing about whether or not the USSF offered the women equal pay.

The organizations are scheduled to go to trial May 5 over a 2019 lawsuit in which the U.S. women’s soccer team accused its parent federation of gender discrimination and low pay compared to their counterparts on the U.S. men’s soccer team.

A Saturday letter from U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro claims that the organization recently offered the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association a pay structure identical to the men’s team “for all matches controlled by U.S. Soccer.”

The letter was misleading, according to Molly Levinson, a spokesperson for the 28 women’s plaintiffs, a group that includes stars Alex Morgan, Carly Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe. ESPN reports that Levinson also thought the timing was inappropriate, as Cordeiro’s letter came the day before the U.S. women played Spain in the SheBelievesCup.

“The USSF letter is riddled with falsehoods and issued on the eve of the SheBelieves game, which demonstrates that it is more important to USSF to diminish the women’s team than it is to support them on the field,” Levinson said, according to ESPN. “USSF did not and has never offered equal pay to the women’s players.”

According to The Associated Press, the women’s players say that the USSF offered to match rates the men’s team had under its previous labor deal, which expired in December 2018.

“(The USSF) employed dishonest tactics by asking to speak to players and their legal representatives in confidence, demanding confidential conversations, and then immediately leaking the conversations to the media using distorted information.”

Levinson also said that the federation didn’t offer equal workplace conditions.

Cordeiro said that the women’s players haven’t met to discuss the offer “on the premise that our proposal does not include U.S. Soccer agreeing to make up the difference in future prize money awarded by FIFA for the Men’s and Women’s World Cups.”

The U.S. women’s team won $4 million for winning the 2019 World Cup, the fourth title in the history of the USWNT. FIFA president Gianni Infantino has committed to doubling the prize money for the 2023 World Cup. However, that would still lag well behind the men, as France received $38 million for winning the 2018 World Cup.

“There is indeed a significant difference in World Cup prize money awarded by FIFA to the men’s and women’s championship teams,” Cordeiro said. “However, it is not reasonable or fiscally sound for U.S. Soccer to make up the gap. It would seriously impair our ability to support our mission and invest in these other critical developmental areas.”

“In the U.S. it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender,” Levinson said. “USSF cannot use ongoing FIFA discrimination as a justification for breaking the law.”

Cordeiro said in July that a 10-year financial analysis showed that “separate and apart from any prize money awarded by FIFA – U.S. soccer has, over the past decade, paid our Women’s National Team more than our Men’s National Team in salaries and game bonuses, and we continue to make unprecedented investments in our women’s program.”

Related content: U.S. Soccer President: USWNT Paid More than Men

The analysis was that U.S. Soccer paid the women’s team $34.1 million in salaries and game bonuses over the past decade, compared to $26.4 million for the men’s team.

Levinson called Cordeiro’s July letter “a sad attempt by the USSF to quell the overwhelming tide of support the USWNT has received from everyone to fans to sponsors to the United States Congress.

“The USSF has repeatedly admitted that it does not pay the women equally and that it does not believe the women even deserve to be paid equally. This is why they use words like ‘fair’ and ‘equitable,’ not ‘equal’ in describing pay.”

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin introduced a bill in July that would prevent the federal government from providing money to the 2026 Men’s World Cup, which will be hosted by the U.S., Canada and Mexico, until the USSF provides equal pay to the men and women.

Related content: Senator Introduces Bill Supporting Equal Pay for USWNT

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