The president of the US soccer association Cindy Parlow Cone called on the unions of the women’s and men’s national teams in an open letter on Friday to agree on an equalization of the World Cup prize money.
She called on the men’s national team to allow the USSF to allocate part of the FIFA World Cup payments to the women’s team federation. Parlow Cone said the USSF would offer the same contract to both unions.
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The World Cup prize money was one of the many sticking points between the USSF and the players, as the association insists that FIFA controls the prize pool and it is not their control to divide it evenly.
The USWNT players argue that there are many games like World Cup qualifying that FIFA doesn’t control the money for.
Players led by Alex Morgan sued the USSF in March 2019. US Football President Cindy Parlow Cone said Friday that the US women’s and men’s teams are joining forces to “negotiate a solution that will cut the World Cup prize money between the USMNT and USWNT compensates “. . “
“As a former player, I would like to make it clear once again that, like all US football, I am committed to 100% for equal pay for our national team,” said Parlow Cone in the letter. “We focus on this commitment through action to demonstrate. As an association, we would much rather negotiate a single collective agreement with both the men’s and women’s teams, but since no team has agreed on this approach, we proceed separately “with each players association.
“The massive prize mismatch in the FIFA World Cup ™ is by far the toughest issue we continue to face in our parallel negotiations with the men’s and women’s national teams. While FIFA has made some significant investments in women’s football, the discrepancy in the prize money remains blatant.
“FIFA alone controls these funds, and US Soccer is required by law to distribute these funds based on our currently negotiated collective agreements with the men’s and women’s teams.
“We see this challenge as an opportunity to bring about change. To take advantage of this opportunity, our men’s and women’s national teams need to come together and rethink how we’ve done things in the past. To this end, we invited the players and both player associations to work with US Soccer to negotiate a solution that would balance the prize money of the World Cup between USMNT and USWNT. “
Both the USWNT Players Association and the players who sued the USSF have denied a number of the allegations made in the latest letter.
“It is simply wrong that the federation of the women’s national team offered the ‘exactly the same contract’ in previous negotiations. If the USSF were serious about equal pay, they would not participate in publicity gags that do not address our problems”, said Becca Roux, executive director of the USWNT Players Association.
“We are keen to negotiate in good faith to get a fair deal for our players and we will not let them use our fight for equality to create a gap between women and men. We remain determined to to work with all parties for a fair deal that “nullifies all players.”
A spokesman for the players involved in the case said it needed more words than action.
“USSF has finally recognized that they pay female players less than male players,” said USWNT player spokeswoman Molly Levinson.
“USSF needs to correct this persistent inequality by entering into an equal pay collective agreement and resolving the ongoing litigation. Letters to fans are not a substitute. It is time to back up many words with a few deeds. “
The USMNT backed the USWNT’s lawsuit for equal pay and filed an amicus briefing signed by representatives of the men’s players’ union in July.
They backed the USWNT’s appeal after a judge dismissed their lawsuit.
They said the USSF has “spent more than three decades marginalizing women, discriminating against them through poor wages and working conditions, and forcing women to fight for the same pay and fair treatment they deserve”.
This pattern, the letter continues, “sends women and girls a destructive public message that even at the highest levels, no matter how hard they work or how much they succeed, they can and are degraded and undervalued by their employers is equally daunting how illegal. “
The union of the women’s team reached an agreement with various benefits such as health care, payment of the players in the National Women’s Soccer League, and maternity and pregnancy leave and pay. The women’s contract also includes injury benefits, 401 (k) plans, and severance pay.
In their 2019 lawsuit, the women sought more than $ 64 million in damages plus $ 3 million in interest under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
US District Judge R. Gary Klausner in Los Angeles dismissed the salary claim in May 2020, ruling that the women rejected a pay-to-play structure similar to that in the men’s contract and accepted higher base salaries and benefits than the men.
He allowed the charge of discriminatory working conditions to be brought to justice. The women asked the 9th district to overturn the verdict of the legal process and to restart their wage claims.
A three-person jury is likely to hear oral arguments late this year or early 2022.
FIFA has donated $ 400 million in prize money to the 32 teams in the 2018 Men’s World Cup, including $ 38 million for the French champions.
It awarded $ 30 million to the 24 teams at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, including $ 4 million to the US after the Americans won their second straight title.
FIFA has increased the total for the 2022 Men’s World Cup to $ 440 million, and its President Gianni Infantino has proposed that FIFA raise the women’s prize pool to the 2023 Women’s World Cup, where FIFA will increase the number of teams to 32 has increased to double to $ 60 million.
Most associations base their payments to players for World Cups on the FIFA amounts.
The USSF is negotiating a collective agreement with the women’s union to replace the one that expires on December 31st.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.