The United States Soccer Federation said on Tuesday it has offered identical contracts to the women and men on its national teams.
In addition, the country’s football governing body has warned that it will reject any agreement in which World Cup prize money is not distributed equitably.
Players associations are different. Under federal labor laws, these unions are not required to bargain together or agree to similar terms.
The men’s team contract expired in December 2018. The women’s team contract is valid until December.
“We firmly believe that the best way forward for all stakeholders and the future of the sport in the United States is the individual pay structure for the two national teams,” the federation said in a statement. “This proposal will allow members of the women’s and men’s teams to continue to be among the best-paid in the world, providing an income-sharing structure that allows the parties to start over and collectively share the opportunity that this joint investment will generate in the future.”
Unions in both branches did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for the players’ union that brought the case to the union, declined to comment.
Last week, the federation requested that the men’s federation agree to share the money paid by FIFA equally. Since then, the selectors have not commented.
The latter indicated that different sections of the women’s contract, such as pay for players in the National League or maternity and pregnancy leave, will not necessarily be removed from the union’s proposals.
In March 2019, players led by Alex Morgan filed a lawsuit against the federation, arguing that they had not been paid a fair wage under their collective contract, compared to what the men receive.
The footballers demanded more than $64 million in compensation, plus $3 million in interest, under the provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Federal District Judge. Gary Klausner rejected the wage claim in May 2020, noting that women rejected a structure similar to that offered in the agreement with men, in which they pay to play. Instead, female footballers accepted higher base salaries and benefits than men.
Instead, Klausner allowed part of the lawsuit that alleged discriminatory working conditions to be tried.
The women demanded the Ninth Circuit to overturn the ruling and reinstate the lawsuit. A panel of three judges will hear oral arguments later this year or early 2022.
FIFA awarded 400 million dollars in prizes to the 32 teams participating in the 2018 Men’s World Cup. France, which was crowned, received 38 million dollars.
$30 million was awarded to the 24 teams at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, of which $4 million was awarded to the United States, who won their second consecutive title.
For the 2022 World Cup, FIFA has increased the total amount allocated to men’s teams to 440 million. Its president, Gianni Infantino, has proposed that FIFA double the prize money for women, to 60 million, for the 2023 World Cup, in which the number of participating teams will be increased to 32.
“We will not agree to any collective contract that does not take the significant step of matching World Cup prize money,” the federation said. “We believe the best way to achieve these important goals is for the football players’ unions, both men and women, to come together to negotiate a contract.”
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