The US Soccer Federation (USSF) has reached a settlement agreement with the US women’s national soccer team (USWNT), bringing an end to the dispute regarding unequal working conditions, whilst the unequal pay debate continues.
Last year, members of the team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit, where they claimed they were paid less than the men’s national team and denied the same working conditions and professional development.
However, in May this year, a judge ruled against the issue of equal pay but allowed for the lawsuit to continue with a focus on working conditions.
The settlement, that was filed on December 2, included that the USSF ‘denies that it did anything wrong and maintains that it has not discriminated against plaintiffs on the basis of sex in pay or working conditions’.
Terms laid out within the settlement mean that members of the women’s team will receive the same working conditions that is provided to their male counterparts, which includes chartered flights for team travel, comparable hotel accommodation and a specialised professional support service. Additionally, players will be given the option to appeal the decision made in May on equal pay.
“We are pleased that the USWNT players have fought for — and achieved — long overdue equal working conditions,” said Molly Levison, a spokesperson for the team.
“We now intend to file our appeal to the court’s decision which does not account for the central fact in this case that women players have been paid at lesser rates than men who do the same job.”
USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone, believes that the settlement is a step in the right direction and encouraged the team to accept offer so that contract options can proceed. She has previously stated that finding an out-of-court solution to the dispute was one of her “top priorities”.
"My goal is, and has always been, to come to a resolution on all equal pay matters and inspire a new era of collaboration, partnership and trust between the USWNT and the federation,” she said.
The USWNT has won the FIFA Women’s World Cup four times in its history, of which two of those have come in the last two competitions. The men’s team on the other hand has never progressed past the quarter-final stage, an argument often put forward by those inside and outside of the case.
A new agreement on working conditions is anticipated to be included in a collective bargaining agreement between the federation and the players’ union. The USWNT’s current deal is set to expire at the end of 2021.
Author: Jake Wilkin