U.S. women soccer stars, including Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, have reached a $24 million settlement with the U.S. Soccer Federation following a lawsuit over unequal pay with men's team players.
The landmark settlement was announced Tuesday, years after a group of five U.S. Women's National Team players filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint over inequality in pay and treatment.
According to the terms of the settlement, U.S. Soccer will pay men and women at an equal rate in the future in all friendlies and tournaments, including the World Cup.
"We are pleased to announce that, contingent on the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement, we will have resolved our longstanding dispute over equal pay and proudly stand together in a shared commitment to advancing equality in soccer," U.S. Soccer and the players said in a joint statement.
The EEOC complaint was filed in 2016 by Hope Solo and Carli Lloyd, who are now both retired, Becky Sauerbrunn, Morgan and Rapinoe.
Then in March 2019, 28 members of the USWNT filed a lawsuit, citing years of ongoing institutionalized gender discrimination against the players in their compensation and working conditions.
The lawsuit garnered national attention and led to stadium chants of "Equal Pay!" when the U.S. women's team won the 2019 World Cup in Paris.
The numbers between men and women in the sport are stark.
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FIFA awarded $400 million in prize money for the 32 teams at the 2018 men's World Cup, and $38 million to the champion, France. By comparison, FIFA awarded $30 million for the 24 teams at the 2019 Women's World Cup, including $4 million to the U.S. after winning their second straight title.
The agreement is a major victory for U.S. women's soccer team, a global sensation and powerhouse in the sport, which has won four FIFA Women's World Cup titles since the competition's founding in 1991.
That stands in stark contrast to the men's national team, which took third place in the first World Cup played in 1930 — and hasn't come close since.
U.S. Soccer will pay $22 million to the players in the case and an additional $2 million into an account to benefit USWNT players in their post-career goals and charitable efforts related to women's and girls' soccer, according to the settlement terms. Players will be able to apply for up to $50,000 from this fund.
"Getting to this day has not been easy. The U.S. Women's National Team players have achieved unprecedented success while working to achieve equal pay for themselves and future athletes. Today, we recognize the legacy of the past USWNT leaders who helped to make this day possible, as well as all of the women and girls who will follow," U.S. Soccer and the players said in the joint statement.
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