The US National Soccer Team Players Association issued a blistering statement aimed at the US Soccer Federation (USSF) on Wednesday advocating for higher pay for players on the US women’s national team (USWNT).
The union, which represents the US men’s national team, is supporting the USWNT gender discrimination lawsuit against the USSF. That lawsuit seeks equal pay for women’s national team players.
USMNT Supports Discrimination Claims
The latest statement is the strongest measure of support from the men’s union so far. It bluntly states that the women’s team has faced discrimination, both in terms of pay and working conditions, and that this situation has persisted for far too long.
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) February 12, 2020
“With our unions working together since 1999, the goal was always to secure for the women comparable gains in pay and working conditions,” the statement read. “For more than 20 years, the Federation has resisted any concept of equal pay or basic economic fairness for the USWNT players.”
US Soccer has claimed that USWNT players earn more than their male counterparts at the moment. Both the men’s and women’s teams strongly dispute the math used by the USSF, however, and Wednesday’s statement reiterated that stance.
“The Federation has been working very hard to sell a false narrative to the public, and even to members of Congress,” the statement read. “They have been using this false narrative as a weapon against current and former members of the United States Women’s National Team.”
Union Says Both Teams Underpaid
The US men aren’t just supporting the USWNT lawsuit out of principle. According to the union, the USSF has depressed the USMNT’s pay in an effort to help cover up the fact that the women’s team is being underpaid.
Revenue for both teams has increased significantly over the past decade, but players say that compensation hasn’t been in line with that growth. The USWNT is currently playing under a deal agreed to in 2017, and which expires in 2021 – one the men’s team says is worse than the deal they agreed to for the 2011-2018 period.
“The Federation is taking the frivolous position that the USMNT players’ compensation should also stay at those 2011-2018 numbers,” the statement read. “This is not because there is any basis for that position. Instead, it’s a desperate attempt to cover up the fact that what they did to the women in 2017 is indefensible.”
Both the USWNT and the USSF had hoped to avoid a lawsuit through mediation last summer. However, those talks broke down in August after days of meetings failed to produce any meaningful progress.
The gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the union for the women’s soccer team is scheduled to head to trial beginning on May 5 at the US District Court in Los Angeles. US Soccer officials haven’t responded to the latest statements from the men’s union.