The US Soccer Federation announced that it has offered identical contracts to the players’ associations for both the men’s and women’s teams amid an ongoing legal battle in which players for the national women’s team sued the federation, accusing it of gender discrimination.
“US 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 USSF said Tuesday in a 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 U.S. Soccer will deliver over the course of a new CBA,” it added.
Additionally, the federation “called upon the players and both Players Associations to join the Federation in finding a way to equalize FIFA World Cup prize money between the USMNT and the USWNT.”
The Federation Internationale de Football Association, or FIFA, which governs the World Cup, allots more prize money for the international men’s competition than it does for the women’s title.
FIFA awarded $400 million in prize money for the 32 teams at the 2018 men’s World Cup, including $38 million to champion France, while it awarded just $30 million for the 24 teams at the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
In 2019, the US women’s took home just $4 million after winning its second straight title.
Last week, FIFA asked the men’s union to voluntarily equalize World Cup bonus money paid to the federation.
“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 USSF said. “US Soccer believes that the best way to achieve these important goals is by the women’s and men’s Players Associations coming together to negotiate one contract.”
The unions that represent players on the men’s and women’s teams are currently separate and do not negotiate contracts collectively.
The men’s contract expired in December of 2018; the women’s contract runs through the end of this year.
Players led by Alex Morgan sued the USSF in March 2019, arguing that they have not been paid equitably under their union agreement compared with what the men’s team receives got under its since-lapsed contract.
The women’s team players asked for more than $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
US District Judge R. Gary Klausner in Los Angeles threw out the pay claim in 2020, but allowed the women’s allegation of discriminatory working conditions to go to trial.
The women have since appealed the decision to throw out their unequal pay claim.
With Post wires