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Men’s Team Dispute’s U.S. Soccer’s ‘Fair And Equitable’ Pay Claims

Defender Matt Miazga #19 of United States and Michael Bradley #4 fight for the ball during a training session ahead of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup final match against Mexico at Soldier Field on July 6, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.
Omar Vega/Getty Images

After the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) on Monday released a statement and “fact sheet” detailing the different pay structures of the men’s and women’s teams, the U.S. Men’s National Team released their own statement critical of the federation’s claims.

 

The Wall Street Journal published the statement, in which members of the men’s team point out deficiencies in the federation’s statistics. At the end of their statement, they point out that their collective bargaining agreement expired at the end of 2018 and have not been contacted by USSF President Carlos Cordeiro, who released the statement on Monday.

The men’s team start their statement by saying they stand with the women’s team “in their pursuit of fair compensation for their work as professional soccer players” and said they “were not impressed” with Cordeiro’s letter.

“The Federation downplays contributions to the sport when it suits them,” the men’s team wrote. “This is more of the same from a Federation that is constantly in disputes and litigation and focuses on increasing revenue and profits without any idea how to use that money to grow the sport. One way to increase profit unfairly is to refuse to pay national team players a fair share of the revenue they generate.”

The men’s team also criticized USSF for claiming the women’s team lost $27 million over the past decade. The men’s team claimed this figure is based “on false accounting” since the USSF acknowledged that it “does not count any of the sponsorship, television, or marketing money” the federation generates from the teams.

 

“What US sports team makes money if they don’t count television, sponsorship, and marketing revenue?”

In the USSF letter, the federation said it “traditionally” does not attribute such revenue “directly to either the women’s or men’s team alone.” Instead, USSF looked at how much each team made per game in “ticket revenues minus event expenses.” Using that figure, the men’s team generated more than twice what the women’s team generated per game. Adding in sponsorship may alter those figures.

 

The men’s team also said Cordeiro’s “only solution” was for “fans to buy more tickets and watch more games on television.” That is why the men’s team may take home more money than the women’s team, since more people pay attention to men’s soccer.

But, the men’s team said, Cordeiro and the USSF “conceals the fact that the money will not go to” to the women’s team.

“We are also surprised Mr. Cordeiro is writing about labor issues since he has yet to contact the [U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association] since taking office,” the men’s team concluded. “As you may know, our [collective bargaining agreement] expired at the end of 2018 and we are currently waiting on a response from U.S. Soccer to our proposal that would pay the men a fair share of all the revenue they generate and would provide equal pay” to the men’s and women’s players.

Both the men’s and women’s teams negotiated their own pay structures. The women’s team receives a base salary and benefits as well as bonuses. The men’s team only receives the bonuses, which are thus higher than the bonuses received by the women’s team. If what the USSF said is true, even with these different pay structures, the women’s team was paid more than the men’s team.

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