USWNT's Working Conditions Settlement Approved by Court; Equal Pay Appeal to Proceed

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVApril 12, 2021

SOLNA, SWEDEN - APRIL 10: Megan Rapinoe #15 of the United States scores a PK goal and celebrates during a game between Sweden and USWNT at Friends Arena on April 10, 2021 in Solna, Sweden. (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

A court approved a settlement between the United States women's national team and U.S. Soccer on Monday regarding working conditions for the team, setting the squad up for its appeal regarding equal pay, per Cassandra Negley of Yahoo Sports.

Both sides released statements following the approval:

Caitlin Murray @caitlinmurr

U.S. Soccer issues its response to the #USWNT. Based on these two statements, a settlement between the two sides sure doesn't sound close. They're just repeating the same talking points they've used before, and U.S. Soccer again here blames the players for no settlement. pic.twitter.com/FhMFVykOXP

The approval comes after U.S. Soccer agreed in a December settlement to provide the women with similar accommodations to the men's team, including charter flights, venue selection, staffing and hotel accommodations.

"Finally, giving these athletes access to facilities, training, care, and professional support is the next step needed in the long and hard work to grow the game of women's football," spokeswoman Molly Levinson said in her statement.

The next step for the USWNT is to appeal the equal pay case, which was dismissed by Judge R. Gary Klausner in U.S. District Court in California in May 2020. 

The team is reportedly seeking $67 million in back pay, arguing the compensation is based on "gender stereotyping." Men's players are eligible for larger bonuses for winning games than women's players.

U.S. Soccer has countered by saying the previous money was based on the collective bargaining agreement and the federation is prepared to pay equal wages on what it can control.

"U.S. Soccer is 100 percent committed to equal pay," Monday's statement said. "We have offered the USWNT the identical compensation provided to our men’s players for all matches controlled by U.S. Soccer."

A major dispute at this point is bonuses for the World Cup, which is influenced by the payout determined by FIFA. While U.S. Soccer would give the men's team about $25 million of the $34 million FIFA would award the federation for winning the men's World Cup, the women's team receives only $2.5 million because FIFA gives a significantly smaller prize for winning the women's World Cup. The United States won the most recent international competition in 2019 and has four titles overall.

"I feel good about [the case] obviously because I know what the reality is. I know how strong our case is," veteran player Megan Rapinoe told Negley earlier this month. "I feel like probably for both sides a settlement would be the best thing if we can get to a place that’s fair and equitable."