USWNT will get “long overdue equal working conditions” in settlement with U.S. Soccer

The U.S. women’s national soccer team has been fighting for equal pay and treatment in court since March 2019. On Tuesday, the world’s top ranked women’s team reached an agreement with the U.S. Soccer Federation to address parts of their gender discrimination lawsuit pertaining to unequal working conditions compared to their male counterparts.

As part of Tuesday’s proposed settlement, U.S. Soccer has agreed to implement policies to improve the USWNT’s working conditions, specifically in regards to hotel accommodations, staffing, venues and travel, according to U.S. Soccer. The settlement will avoid a trial on these four issues, according to CBS Sports.

The team’s 2019 lawsuit sought $66 million under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. USWNT accused the U.S. Soccer Federation of discriminating against them in how much money the Federation spent on the team’s airfare, hotel accommodations, medical services and training.

The settlement does not address the women’s compensation concerns, but U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone said in a statement, “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.”

“We remain as committed as ever to our work to achieve the equal pay that we legally deserve” Cone added. “Our focus is on the future and ensuring we leave the game a better place for the next generation of women who will play for this team and this country.”

In May, a judge dismissed the team’s claim for equal pay, saying they were “willing to forgo higher bonuses for benefits” and that they can’t “retroactively deem their CBA (collective bargaining agreement) worse than the MNT (men’s national team)…”  

Even so, Cone said Tuesday’ agreement is “good news for everyone.” 

“As a former USWNT player, I can promise you that I am committed to equality between the USWNT and USMNT,” Cone said. “My goal is, and has always been, to come to a resolution on all equal play matters and inspire a new era of collaboration, partnership and trust between the USWNT and the Federation.” 

Cone also said she believes the settlement “will serve as a springboard for continued progress,” and that she hopes it will result in the women’s team accepting U.S. Soccer’s offer to discuss contract options. 

“We want to work with the USWNT on growing women’s soccer here in the United States and across the globe. Part of this is encouraging FIFA to invest equally in the men’s and women’s game, including increasing the World Cup prize money,” Cone said. “I will lend my voice and efforts to making this happen not only for the USWNT, but for all women’s national team players and everyone who believes in the women’s game throughout the world.” 

USWNT spokesperson Molly Levinson said in a statement the team does plan to file an appeal to the May 1 decision to dismiss the claims of unequal pay. 

“We are pleased that the USWNT Players have fought for — and achieved — long overdue equal working conditions,” she said. “We remain as committed as ever to achieve the equal pay that we legally deserve,” Levinson said. “our focus is on the future and ensuring we leave the game a better place for the next generation of women who will play for this team and this country.” 

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