The United States Soccer Federation says it will be offering the same contract proposals to players in the men’s and women’s national teams following a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by one of its female stars, Megan Rapinoe.
In a statement on Tuesday, the USSF said the offer was made “with the goal of aligning the men’s and women’s senior national teams under a single collective bargaining agreement (CBA) structure.”
Both unions representing the men’s and women’s teams are separate and as such are under no obligation to engage in joint bargaining or to agree to mutual terms, the Daily Mail reported. The contract with the men’s team expired in December 2018 while the women’s team contract expires this coming December.
“U.S. Soccer firmly believes that the best path forward for all involved, and for the future of the sport in the United States, is a single pay structure for both senior national teams,” the organization continued in its statement.
“This proposal will ensure that USWNT and USMNT players remain among the highest-paid senior national team players in the world, while providing a revenue sharing structure that would allow all parties to begin anew and share collectively in the opportunity that combined investment in the future of US Soccer will deliver over the course of a new CBA,” the statement added.
In 2019, Rapinoe and fellow player Alex Morgan signed onto a lawsuit against USSF demanding equal pay and better working conditions. Initially, the federation pushed back on the suit’s equal pay claims, stating that the women’s team actually received more money than did the men.
In a letter released ahead of mediation linked to the suit, USSF President Carlos Cordeiro said that the different compensation structure stemmed from the two teams’ collective-bargaining agreements and that it had nothing to do with gender. The letter also noted that women team members are paid a base salary plus bonuses while the men’s team only gets bonuses, though they are larger, which are based on their match play and overall performance.
According to Cordeiro, the pay analysis showed that between 2010-2018, U.S. Soccer compensated female players $34.1 million in salaries and bonuses while paying the men’s team $26.4 million. In addition, the organization said that the men’s team generates far more revenue — $185.7 million over 191 games versus the $101.3 million generated by the women’s team over the course of 238 games between 2009 and 2019.
“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,” Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for the players, said. “This is why they use words like ‘fair and equitable,’ not equal in describing pay.”
The lawsuit was eventually tossed by a federal judge, but the plaintiffs appealed.
In its statement, the USSF also appealed to both teams to join in “finding a way to equalize FIFA World Cup prize money between the USMNT and the USWNT.”
“US Soccer will not agree to any collective bargaining agreement that does not take the important step of equalizing FIFA World Cup prize money,” the statement continued.
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