US women’s national team files appeal after legal setback

The team's equal pay claim had been dismissed last week.

USA women won the women’s Football World Cup title in France last year.   -  AP

The U.S. women’s national team has filed an appeal against a legal setback in its equal pay lawsuit, saying it is being paid less than the men even though it wins twice as much.

In dismissing its equal pay claim last Friday, Judge Gary Klausner said the case was unwarranted because it had previously turned down an offer in the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations to be paid along the lines of the U.S. men’s team. “The argument that women gave up a right to equal pay by accepting the best collective bargaining agreement possible in response to the Federation’s refusal to put equal pay on the table is not a legitimate reason for continuing to discriminate against them,” said USWNT spokesperson Molly Levinson on Friday night.

She listed a series of grievances in the motion to appeal which was filed in a federal district court in California and is part of a larger lawsuit for equal pay. Levinson said the women are being discriminated against because they are not getting as much as the men on a per game basis and that making “close to the same amount” is not valid.

“Equal pay means paying women players the same rate for winning a game as men get paid,” Levinson said.

QUIZ | Women's Football - FIFA World Cup edition

“The argument that women are paid enough if they make close to the same amount as men while winning more than twice as often is not equal pay. The argument that maternity leave is some sort of substitute for paying women players the same rate for winning as men is not valid, nor fair, nor equal. Today, we are filing a motion to allow us to appeal immediately the district court’s decision so that the Ninth Circuit will be able to review these claims.”

Disparities

The U.S. women, who clinched back-to-back World Cup wins with victory at last year’s final in France, had based their claim for back pay in the disparities between prize money distributed by FIFA at the men’s and women’s World Cups.

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The USWNT also takes issue with Klausner pointing out that between the years 2015-2019, the women were paid more money than the men on both a cumulative and an average per game basis.

During that period the women’s national team received USD 24 million and an average of USD 220,747 per game while the men’s team received payments of USD 18 million and USD 212,639 per game. Under the current CBA, which was signed in 2017, more than half the women’s team players receive an annual base salary of USD 167,000.

Klausner did allow some claims of gender discrimination to go ahead in areas such as travel, housing and medical support.

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