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Added April 4th, 2016 by Ian

American women’s soccer team wants same pay as men’s squad

While many international soccer players aren’t officially paid for representing their countries, U.S. Soccer actually pays members of their national squads. Perhaps they should be thankful for this, but several of the female players aren’t happy that their male counterparts are paid more. The women’s team has been much more successful on the pitch than the men’s due to their Olympic gold medals and World Championships, but sports is based on revenues from ticket sales, broadcasting deals, prize money, and sponsorships.

Even so, five female players filed a federal complaint at the end of March stating that U.S. Soccer engages in wage discrimination since they make about 40 per cent of a male player’s bonuses. The players claim their bonuses, per diem allowances and appearance fees are all lower than the men’s. The complaint was lodged with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which is an American federal agency in place to enforce workplace discrimination laws.
One of the complainants is goaltender Hope Solo, who told the media, “The numbers speak for themselves. We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships, and the U.S.M.N.T. get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.”

Solo may be barking up the wrong tree though since the money involved in the women’s competitions is quite a bit less than the men’s. There’s no denying that FIFA’s prize money for winning a men’s World Cup is a lot more than it is for capturing a women’s version because ticket sales, sponsorships, and broadcasting rights are higher. U.S. Soccer said it was disappointed with the complaint which was filed by Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Solo. The American soccer organization said it has helped women’s soccer grow, introduced it to the Olympic Games and also provides the team’s top players with fulltime salaries.

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said he’s willing to discuss the women’s compensation during the next collective bargaining agreement. The women’s team raked in about $16 million more than was projected last year as it won the World Cup while setting new TV viewership records with over 25 million viewers. The squad also went on a nine-game sold out tour in the U.S. after their triumph on the world stage. Jeffrey Kessler, the lawyer representing the women said this is easily the strongest discrimination case in sports that he’s seen. But U.S. Soccer said 2015 was a unique and successful year for the women’s side.

The women said they all have contracts with U.S. Soccer and that makes them employees of the organization. The women’s team has long complained against U.S. Soccer and refused to play in a friendly in Hawaii last year after saying the pitch was in deplorable condition. U.S. Soccer then filed a lawsuit which said the women broke the collective bargaining agreement. Also, the players’ email and home addresses were revealed in court and that didn’t please the women too much either.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission doesn’t have any power to deal with the complaint and it may upset some fans and even members of the women’s team. According to the current collective bargaining agreement, female players are salaried employees with the top ones earning approximately $72,000 per year. However, the male players don’t earn salaries since they’re paid by their clubs. The men are paid bonuses only when called up to the national squad. Reports said a male player is paid $5,000 after a friendly loss, but can make up to $17,625 for beating a world-ranked opponent. In contrast, the female players receive about $1,350 for a win and don’t receive anything for a defeat or a draw. U.S. Soccer argues that the women’s union agreed to the pay scale in the collective agreement and the prize money comes from FIFA.

 
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