Agreement will give US Women’s National Team access to similar resources as the men’s team, but they are still fighting for equal pay
- USWNT players settled a portion of their ongoing lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation on Tuesday.
- The two sides agreed to grant USWNT players access to flights, hotels, resources, and venues on par with those provided to the men's national team.
- Though USSF President Cindy Parlow Cone struck a collaborative tone while discussing the settlement with the press, it appears the two parties are still far from an agreement on the issue of equal pay.
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Players on the US Women's National Team settled part of their lawsuit with the US Soccer Federation.
But the full conflict between the stars and their governing body is still far from a done deal.
On Tuesday, the two parties agreed to a settlement that required the federation to revise its policies regarding the team's working conditions; now, the USWNT players will have access to flights, hotels, resources, and venues on par with those provided to the men's national team.
"We are pleased that the USWNT Players have fought for – and achieved – long overdue equal working conditions," USWNT player spokesperson Molly Levinson said in a statement.
US Soccer will provide the reigning World Cup champions will the same amount of charter flights as the USMNT, and the players' hotel accommodations will reflect similar quality across both teams. Likewise, the USWNT will employ the same number of support staffers as the men's side.
And, perhaps most important and certainly most often discussed, the federation will ensure that its women's team competes at "equally acceptable venues and field playing surfaces" as the USMNT. In the past, the four-time World Cup champions famously played on artificial turf, which almost always results in cuts and burns for athletes and often causes more injuries than competing on grass fields.
"I hope that the women and their lawyers see that we are taking a new approach," newly-minted US Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone said during a call with the media Tuesday evening. "The way we reached this settlement was in a collaborative way."
Later, Cone — a former USWNT player herself — added she hopes the two parties "continue down this path and are able to find a resolution on all aspects of this litigation." And even though Cone said she and the federation are "100% committed to equal pay," it appears the two sides are still considerably far apart on the issue of compensation.
"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," Levinson said in her statement on behalf of the players. "We remain as committed as ever to our work to achieve the equal pay that we legally deserve. 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."
Part of that demand for equal pay involves backpay for inequities in FIFA World Cup payouts. In 2019, the USWNT earned $4 million for winning its fourth star. The French men's team, meanwhile, received $38 million for its 2018 World Cup victory. The United States' women's players want their federation to make up the difference, but Cone insists that "we all know this isn't possible from a US Soccer standpoint to make that up."
"Even pre-COVID, this would be devastating to our budget, to our programming," she added during Tuesday's call. "But given COVID, not to be overly dramatic, but it would likely bankrupt the federation."
The USWNT players' next move will be an official appeal of US District Judge R. Gary Klausner's decision to throw out the equal pay portion of their lawsuit back in May. But the conflict will more than likely take many months to resolve, and could extend beyond the team's quest for gold in Tokyo and into their upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations.
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