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U.S. Soccer Proposes 'Identical' Contracts for Men's, Women's Teams

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 15, 2021

Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The U.S. Soccer Federation has presented a contract proposal that would see members of the men's and women's national teams covered under the same collective bargaining agreement.

The Athletic shared a statement from the federation about the plan:

"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."

Under the structure, the USMNT and USWNT would have identical contracts.

Last week, U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone published an open letter about the ongoing CBA negotiations and signaled a desire to offer equal terms to the men's and women's teams:

"We are making important progress, but are also nearing a critical inflection point. I think it is important for you, as our fans, to know that U.S. Soccer will be offering the Men’s National Team and the Women’s National Team the exact same contract, just as we have in past negotiations. In no uncertain terms, that means offering CBAs that include equalized FIFA World Cup prize money, identical game bonuses and identical commercial and revenue sharing agreements – for both the men’s and women’s national teams."

Parlow Cone acknowledged the national federation is at the mercy of FIFA in terms of the prize money it receives from the men's and women's World Cup. To that end, she asked the respective players' unions to work toward an agreement that will evenly distribute those funds.

The financial gap between the two events is substantial.

France collected $38 million from the $400 million prize pool distributed at the 2018 World Cup. The earnings for Les Bleus exceeded the entirety of the sum ($30 million) awarded for the 2019 Women's World Cup. As the winners, players from the United States received $4 million. 

Their victory came months after a group of players filed a gender discrimination suit against U.S. Soccer. That followed the filing of a legal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in March 2016.

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Members of the USWNT said they didn't receive the same working conditions or compensation compared to their male peers.

With the litigation ongoing, U.S. Soccer received criticism for a line of argument it used in a motion it filed in court: "The overall soccer-playing ability required to compete at the senior men's national team level is materially influenced by the level of certain physical attributes, such as speed and strength, required for the job."

Carlos Cordeiro resigned amid the outcry, with Parlow Cone taking over in March 2020 as president.

In December 2020, the USWNT and U.S. Soccer settled their case regarding working conditions. However, the USWNT in July appealed a judge's ruling dismissing their equal pay lawsuit.

Parlow Cone said that achieving a resolution "continues to be among our top priorities."

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