Women’s national team players accuse US Soccer of wage discrimination

New York, April 1 (IANS) Five members of the United States women’s national team have filed a complaint against United States Soccer, the sport’s governing body in America, alleging they had suffered wage discrimination.

In the complaint, filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces laws against workplace discrimination, the players say that their earnings are far lower than those of men’s national team players and call for the federation to be investigated, reports Efe.

The five players, who said in a statement that they were supported by the rest of the women’s national squad, are team co-captains Carli Lloyd and Becky Sauerbrunn, forward Alex Morgan, midfielder Megan Rapinoe and goalkeeper Hope Solo.

“The numbers speak for themselves. We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships, and the U.S.M.N.T. gets paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships,” Solo lamented in a statement on Thursday.

The players say that under their current agreements with the U.S. Soccer the women’s national team members are eligible to earn up to $75,000 each for winning the World Cup, compared with $400,000 per player in the case of the men.

They also cried foul over the fact that US men receive $5,000 each for a loss in a friendly and up to $17,625 for a win, while the women receive nothing for a loss or draw in a similar match and just $1,350 per player for a victory.

“We have been quite patient over the years with the belief that the federation would do the right thing and compensate us fairly,” Lloyd said in the statement.

US Soccer, in a brief statement on Thursday, said it was “disappointed” in the players’ complaint, adding that it was proud of its commitment to growing women’s soccer in the United States over the past 30 years.

The women’s national team is the reigning Olympic champion and has won the Women’s World Cup three times, most recently in 2015 in Canada.

More than 22 million viewers in the United States watched that final last year against Japan, a record for an English-language US broadcast of a men’s or women’s soccer game.

The US men’s national team, for its part, has never won a World Cup and has not advanced beyond the quarter-finals of soccer’s biggest tournament in the past half-century.

“This is the strongest case of discrimination against women’s athletes in violation of law that I have ever seen,” the players’ attorney, Jeffrey Kessler said on Thursday.

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