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U.S. Soccer Caves, Offers Identical Contracts To Men’s, Women’s Teams
SOCCER: JAN 18 Women's - Colombia at USA
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Tuesday, the U.S. Soccer Federation capitulated to the demands of female soccer players, offering identical contract proposals to the players associations of the men’s and women’s national teams.

The organization issued a press release stating:

U.S. Soccer firmly believes that the best path forward for all involved, and for the future of the sport in the United States, is a single pay structure for both senior national teams. This proposal will ensure that USWNT and USMNT players remain among the highest paid senior national team players in the world, while providing a revenue sharing structure that would allow all parties to begin anew and share collectively in the opportunity that combined investment in the future of U.S. Soccer will deliver over the course of a new CBA.

Additionally, U.S. Soccer has once again called upon the players and both Players Associations to join the Federation in finding a way to equalize FIFA World Cup prize money between the USMNT and the USWNT. U.S. Soccer will not agree to any collective bargaining agreement that does not take the important step of equalizing FIFA World Cup prize money.

U.S. Soccer believes that the best way to achieve these important goals is by the women’s and men’s Players Associations coming together to negotiate one contract. However, if the Players Associations choose to continue to negotiate separately as they have to date, U.S. Soccer will invite the USWNTPA to sit in on the negotiations with the USNSTPA and vice versa, in the interest of full transparency.

U.S. Soccer remains eager, ready and willing to meet with both Players Associations and the players as soon as possible and as often as needed, either separately or together, to get a deal done and focus on the future of soccer.

“The unions for the men’s and women’s team are currently separate and have no obligation to bargain jointly or to agree to similar terms. The men’s contract expired in December 2018 while the women’s runs through until December this year,” the Daily Mail noted.

As recently as July, The Daily Wire’s Ashe Schow noted that the U.S. women’s national soccer team admitted that they were paid the same if not more than the U.S. men’s national team but still argued they didn’t receive equal pay because they had “to work more than a man and be much more successful” to receive “about the same pay.” She continued:

The Hill reported that the women’s team has appealed the May 2020 decision of Judge Gary Klausner, who dismissed the team’s claims that they were discriminated against because of their gender on the issue of pay. As The Daily Wire reported at the time, Klausner noted that the women’s team rejected the same pay structure that the men’s team uses.

“The WNT was willing to forgo higher bonuses for benefits, such as greater base compensation and the guarantee of a higher number of contracted players,” Klausner wrote in his ruling. “Accordingly, plaintiffs cannot now retroactively deem their CBA (collective bargaining agreement) worse than the MNT (men’s national team) CBA by reference to what they would have made had they been paid under the MNT’s pay-to-play terms structure when they themselves rejected such a structure.” 

The women’s team previously attempted to get the pay discrimination claim reinstated by appealing to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Now, they’ve filed their direct appeal of Klausner’s ruling, claiming it was “based on a flawed analysis of the team’s compensation, despite the abundant evidence of unequal pay.”

Schow pointed out in June 2019:

The main reason women soccer players aren’t paid as much as men is due to the fact that there is simply less interest from viewers. The lower interest results in less money brought in from advertisers and revenue to the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

When women’s soccer came to Fox Sports, it averaged about 63,000 viewers, while the men’s team regularly brings in 240,000 viewers per game at ESPN. This changes when the women’s team is in the World Cup. Views at that time rival that of the men’s team — but just for that short period. Chris Chase wrote at USA Today in 2015 that this is more akin to national pride than any love of women’s soccer.

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