Monday, December 05, 2022

US Soccer equals pay with women, men in milestone

The US Soccer Federation reached a milestone agreement to pay its men’s and women’s teams equally, making the US national governing body the first sport to promise matching money to both sexes.

The federation on Wednesday announced separate collective bargaining agreements with unions for both national teams through December 2028, ending years of often acrimonious negotiations.

The deals grew partly from a push by players on the more successful women’s team, which included stars like Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, leading the team to the Women’s World Cup Championship in 2019 at the forefront of the fight for gender equality were. The struggle became so much a part of the team’s story that “Equal pay! Equal pay!” The crowd rose as the American players celebrated winning the title in France.

Morgan and Rapinoe could still be beneficiaries of the deal, although the next Women’s World Cup is in 2023 and the team’s makeup may have changed by then.

“I feel so proud to have girls who are watching it grow up, and recognize their worth instead of fighting for it. However, my father always told me to do what you’re supposed to do. You don’t get rewarded for it – and paying men and women equally is what you should be doing,” said US forward Margaret Purse. “So I’m not awarding any gold stars, but I’m grateful for this achievement and for all the people who came together to make it.”

The men are playing under the terms of the CBA that expire in December 2018. The women’s CBA ended in late March, but talks continued after federation and players agreed to settle gender discrimination lawsuits brought by some players. 2019 The settlement was contingent on the union reaching labor contracts that equalized wages and bonuses between the two teams.

Perhaps the biggest sticking point was World Cup prize money, which is based on how far a team progresses in the tournament. While American women have been successful on the international stage with consecutive World Cup titles, the difference in FIFA prize money means they took home far less than the men’s winners. US women receive a $110,000 bonus for winning the 2019 World Cup; American men would have received $407,000 in 2018.

The unions agreed to pool FIFA’s payments for the 2026 and 2027 tournaments, along with the men’s World Cup later this year and next year’s women’s World Cup.

Each player will receive a matching game attendance fee, which the USSF said makes it the first federation to pool FIFA prize money in this way.

“We saw this as an opportunity, an opportunity to be a leader in this front and to engage with the women’s side and US Soccer. So we’re just excited that this is how we were able to make the deal,” said Walker Zimmerman, a Defender who is part of the US National Team Players Association Leadership Group.

The women’s union estimates compensation for a player who is under contract from $245,000 to $327,000 to increase 34% this year from 2018. The average annual salary for 2023–28 for all roster-making players will be $450,000, with the potential to double the figure in World Cup years depending on the result.

“I’m so proud of you for never giving up and I applaud US Soccer for agreeing to do the right thing.” President Joe Biden tweeted, “Until we close the gender pay gap in every industry, let’s keep fighting.”

The federation previously based the bonus on payments from FIFA, which earmarked $400 million for the 2018 men’s tournament, including $38 million to champions France and $30 million to the 2019 women’s tournament, with $4 to champion United States. million were involved.

FIFA has raised a total of $440 million for the 2022 Men’s World Cup, and its president, Gianni Infantino, has proposed that FIFA double the women’s prize money for the 2023 Women’s World Cup to $60 million, including FIFA has increased the number of teams. to 32

For current World Cup cycles, the USSF will pool the FIFA funds, taking 10% from the top and then splitting the rest equally among the 46 players – 23 players on each team’s roster. For the 2026-27 cycle, the USSF’s cut increases to 20% before the split.

After missing out on the 2018 World Cup, the men qualified for this year’s World Cup in Qatar, starting in November. The women’s team would like to qualify for the 2023 World Cup this year, which will be hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

Federation president Cindy Parlow Coen, a former national teammate, said, “There were moments when I thought it would all fall apart and then it came back together and it was all different groups coming together, at one table. There’s a real credit to having the conversation.” Players who became the head of the governing body in 2020. “I think that was a really turning point. Earlier, trying to negotiate CBA with women and then negotiating CBA terms with men and vice versa was really challenging. I think the real turning point was then. It was when we were all sitting in the same room at the same table, working together and collaborating to reach this goal.”

The women ended six years of litigation over equal pay in February, calling for $24 million to be paid to the USSF, a deal that could be reached when new collective bargaining agreements were reached.

As part of the settlement, players will split $22 million, roughly a third of the amount they sought in damages. The USSF also agreed to establish a fund with $2 million to benefit players in charitable efforts aimed at enhancing their post-football careers and the sport for women.

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