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15 Sep, 2021 16:56

Feminists 1, Soccer bosses 0: Social justice crew Rapinoe & Co score equal pay rights for women alongside US male counterparts

Feminists 1, Soccer bosses 0: Social justice crew Rapinoe & Co score equal pay rights for women alongside US male counterparts

The US Soccer Federation is to offer equal pay to both the men's and women's national teams after female stars Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan succeeded in a discrimination lawsuit centered around payment parity.

Confirming the move to offered identical contract terms to the players associations of both the men's and women's teams, the USSF said in a statement that they are committed to "the goal of aligning the men's and women's senior national teams under a single collective bargaining agreement (CBA) structure."

The two unions for the men's and women's game in the United States are separate entities and neither are under any obligation for collective bargaining to manifest similar payment structures amongst their players, but a new agreement is due after the men's deal ended in late 2018 and its female equivalent running until December of this year - but the USSF state that striking a payment accord is crucial to the continuing growth of the sport in the US.

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"US 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," they added.

"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 US Soccer will deliver over the course of a new CBA."

This comes two years after Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, two household names within the US women's team and collective owners of an astounding 371 international caps between them, added their names to a 2019 lawsuit against the USSF related to equal pay rights for female players.

The lawsuit argued that the success of the US women's team "translated into substantial revenue generation and profits" and added that the revenue that the USSF enjoys from the team far outweighs that of their male equivalents.

The topic of equal pay for female players became a hot one, especially during the US female team's success in the 2019 World Cup, and led to a torrent of ignominy from some of the United State's most powerful female figures.

"Here's an idea: If you win 13-0 – the most goals for a single game in World Cup history – you should be paid at least equally to the men's team," wrote US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in 2019 as the first equal pay ructions began to become apparent.

"The players are also fighting to be paid equally. Let’s not forget the fight off the field. It’s time we pay our USWNT equally," wrote current vice president Kamala Harris, while liberal firebrand Elizabeth Warren also added her voice to the debate.

"The @USWNT is #1 in the world & contributes higher revenues for @USSoccer than the men’s team, but they’re still paid a fraction of what the men earn. Women deserve equal pay for equal (or better!) work in offices, factories, AND on the soccer field," she said.

Furthermore, sportswear brand Nike stated in 2019 that the jersey of the victorious women's team was the most-sold item they had ever had in a single season. 

However, the suit was thrown out by a federal judge earlier this year and led to an appeal – which appears to have been met kindly by the USSF hierarchy.

"US Soccer will not agree to any collective bargaining agreement that does not take the important step of equalising FIFA World Cup prize money," the USSF added in its statement, after $400 million was allocated to participants in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, while just $30 million awarded to the 24 teams at the 2019 Women's World Cup which was won by the United States.

To contrast, 2018 World Cup Winners France were awarded $38 million while the victorious U.S. team a year later were given just $4 million. 

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has also got on board with the proposal to up pay in the women's game and has suggested that the prize money be doubled for the next Women's World Cup in 2023. 

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