The United States national women’s soccer team has filed a complaint on Friday for discrimination against the soccer federation of that country for wage discrimination.
The complaint, which is presented on Women’s Day, March 8, alleges that the authority of football in that country pays them less than the players of the men’s team and gives them worse conditions to play, train and travel.
“In the light of our team’s unparalleled success in the field, it is a shame that we have to keep fighting for a deal that reflects our achievements and our contribution to this sport,” said Carli Lloyd, one of the team’s captains, quoted by Reuters.
The lawsuit, filed in a Los Angeles court, alleges that the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) systematically pays less to women than men, even admits in public that it does so “The reality of the market”, despite the fact that the women’s team “has generated more benefit, has played more games, has won more matches and championships and has generated more television audiences”.
Unlike the men’s soccer team, the women’s team is one of the most successful national teams in the United States. The women have won four times the gold medal in the Olympic Games. They have participated in all the Women’s World Cups and have won it three times, 1991, 1999 and the last, in 2015.
The final of that World Cup was the most watched soccer game in history in the United States with an audience of 23 millions of people. Its historical players like Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach or Hope Solo are as famous or more than the players of the men’s team.
The lawsuit considers that the Federation’s current policy is discriminatory and violates the equal pay regulations of the Civil Rights Act. It is a class action lawsuit on behalf of all employees of the Federation and calls for the end of discrimination and compensation for these practices.
In its arguments, the lawsuit explains that the Federation pays a minimum to all male team players per game ranging from $ 5,000 to $ 17,000, depending on the quality of the opponent and regardless of the outcome of the match. That minimum pay is not offered to women.
They only charge if they play against teams in the top 10 of the FIFA ranking, and only if they win. They do not charge draws or losses, nor games against theoretically weak teams.
As a result, the lawsuit reveals, if the two teams play 20 friendly matches in a year, for example, women can only aspire to collect a maximum of $ 99,000, while men could charge an average of $ 263,000.
“A female player who wins 20 matches can only win 38% of the pay of a similar male player.”
On another point, he alleges that “the pay for passing the World Cup rounds are so unequal that in 2014 the USSF gave the male players a bonus of $ 5,375,000 to lose in the round of 16, while the women gave them 1,725,000 for being champions of the tournament “. The women’s team won three times more than the men’s “in addition to having demonstrably better results”.
In addition, of the pay, the women of the United States team denounce the discrimination in other aspects, like the support to their sport, the promotion that is done to them or the facility to travel or to train, in comparison with the masculine selection.
In particular, the obligation to play in enclosed spaces and with artificial turf, which increases the risk of injury to natural turf. Women have to play up to 21% of their matches on artificial turf, compared to 2% of men.
The complaint comes just three months before the next Women’s World Cup begins. The current world champions will debut at the World Cup in France in a match against Thailand on June 11 in Reims. For the moment, the Federation had not yet responded publicly.