US Soccer Claims Women’s Team Doesn’t Deserve Equal Pay Because Men Are ‘More Skilled’
US Soccer has claimed the women’s national team don’t deserve to be paid the same as their male counterparts because the men’s team ‘requires a higher level of skill’.
The shocking arguments were made in a court filing on Monday, March 9, as part of a lawsuit filed by the US women’s national team (USWNT) against the US Soccer Federation over unequal pay between the men’s and women’s teams.
The USWNT is asking for around $67 million in back pay to make up for what they claim is US Soccer’s violation of the Equal Pay Act. The women’s team games have generated more revenue than the men’s games since 2015, though FIFA pays men more prize money in the World Cup – although the men haven’t qualified since 2014.
The women’s team has argued US Soccer should not pay them less because of FIFA’s prize structure.
Yesterday’s filing was made by US Soccer in an attempt to prove it has not discriminated against the World Cup champion team by paying differently based on gender.
Court documents cited by Buzzfeed News show lawyers for the USWNT’s employer arguing that, under the Equal Pay Act, ‘[t]he job of a [men’s national team player] carries more responsibility within US Soccer than the job of a [women’s national team] player.’
The organisation also made reference to biological differences and ‘indisputable science’ in its argument, claiming women should earn less because their job doesn’t require as much skill as the male players’.
Lawyers are also said to have grilled star players from the women’s team as part of the lawsuit, questioning members such as Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan over the fact they were not as strong or fast as players on the men’s team.
A US Soccer lawyer asked Lloyd if she thought the team could be ‘competitive against the senior men’s national team’, to which Lloyd responded: ‘I’m not sure. Shall we fight it out to see who wins and then we get paid more?’
Asked if it requires more skill to play for the men’s team or the women’s team, Morgan replied: ‘No. It’s a different skill.’
The organisation has also claimed the men’s team have a more demanding job as they face hostile fans at games.
US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro addressed the lawsuit in a letter released online this week, claiming his organisation had offered an equal pay structure with the men’s national team, which the women had rejected.
As a non-profit, member-based organization, U.S. Soccer has obligations to all of our members… and we have a responsibility to help all of our members grow.
There is indeed a significant difference in World Cup prize money awarded by FIFA to the men’s and women’s championship teams. However, it is not reasonable or fiscally sound for U.S. Soccer to make up the gap. It would seriously impair our ability to support our mission and invest in these other critical developmental areas.
USWNT lawyers argued the ‘equal pay’ offer was based on a contract the men’s team had negotiated nine years ago, and which it is itself in the midst of renegotiating.
A trial for the lawsuit is scheduled to begin on May 5 at US District Court in Los Angeles.
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