U.S. Soccer has reached a $24 million agreement with the women’s national team to settle allegations that females were paid less than their male counterparts.
A joint statement was released Tuesday to announce the agreement. It would settle one of U.S.’s biggest legal disputes over equal pay for female and male athletes. The elite U.S. women’s team sued in March 2019, saying they are paid less than the men’s team.
“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,” U.S. Soccer and the women’s national team said in the statement.
The women said their fight for equality isn’t over yet. Players are now shifting their sights to FIFA, international soccer’s governing association.
“It’s on notice for FIFA as it has been,” Megan Rapinoe, a star on the women’s national team, said during an online press conference Tuesday. “They should feel like they’re next.”
It would require persistent, aggressive and consistent action for FIFA to make equal pay to men and women.
“Clearly they’re really not all that motivated to do it on their own to do anything,” Rapinoe said. “It’s just a matter of them either feeling that the pressure is too much or, I don’t anticipate this, or a sudden change of heart and mind.”
U.S. Soccer’s pay discrepancy
Los Angeles Federal Judge first dismissed the lawsuit after finding that national team women earned more than their male counterparts in 2017-2018. The pay disparity was also due to the differences between the collective bargaining agreements.
Women appealed to the court, claiming that they were better off because they had more success than men and played more games. The case was scheduled to go before the court on March 7.
Last year, the organization representing U.S. men’s soccer team players and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed court papers supporting the fight by the women’s national team. U.S. Soccer said in the statement Tuesday that it has “committed to providing an equal rate of pay going forward.”
“It’s a win for everyone,” Cindy Cone, U.S. Soccer Federation president, said at the Tuesday press conference. “For women in general.
The court has not yet filed the settlement.
Alex Morgan, U.S. Soccer Federation.
—Erik Larson and Joe Schneider with assistance