On February 22, 2022, the U.S. Soccer Federation and the Women’s National Team reached a historic settlement in principle that would bring closure to the players’ long battle for equal pay. The gender discrimination lawsuit, alleging that the Women’s National Team was paid less than the men’s national team, was filed in March 2019 but dismissed by the Federal Court in California, and has been pending on appeal before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The parties are now working to finalize the settlement agreement and its specific terms. As part of the settlement, the players will receive $22 million from U.S. Soccer to cover back pay as well as an additional $2 million paid into an account to benefit the players in their post-career goals and charitable efforts related to women’s and girls’ soccer. U.S. Soccer has also promised to provide an equal rate of pay between the men’s and women’s national senior teams in all friendlies and tournaments, including the World Cup. The deal is contingent upon the players ratifying a new collective bargaining agreement to be approved by the U.S. District Court to fully resolve all claims in the litigation. The collective bargaining negotiations will determine the exact nature of the new pay structure, but U.S. Soccer has agreed to equalize the distribution of prize monies between the U.S. men’s and women’s teams.
The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) has traditionally paid significantly higher prize monies to men’s teams than to women’s teams, and it is not clear whether that practice will continue. Although the fight for equal pay in soccer is far from over on the international level, the settlement with U.S. Soccer is certainly an encouraging step.
This summary is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. This information should not be reused without permission.