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Friday, October 07, 2022

US soccer reaches milestone labor deal that includes equal pay for women, men

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 match money to both sexes.

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

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 in 2019. The settlement was contingent on the union reaching labor contracts that equalized wages and bonuses between the two teams.

“I feel so proud of the girls who are watching this grow up, and recognize their value instead of fighting for it. However, my dad always told me that you don’t get rewarded for what you do. It’s done. Must do it again – and paying men and women equally is what you’re supposed to do,” 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.”

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.

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.

The USSF said each player would receive a matching game attendance fee, making it the first federation to pool FIFA prize money in this way.

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

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 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 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.

For shorter tournaments, such as those run by the Governing Body of North America, players will earn the same game bonus. And for exhibition games, players will receive matching attendance fees and performance payments based on match results and opponent rank. Players who do not wear a dress will receive a fee equivalent to attending a national team training camp.

The women gave up the guaranteed base pay that had been part of their CBA since 2005. Some players were guaranteed annual salaries of $100,000.

“I think we’ve overstepped some conditions that may seem like we’ve lost something, but now our (professional) league is actually strong enough where we don’t need that many guaranteed contracts anymore, you know. Well, we can be more of a pay-to-play model,” Purse said.

Child care covered for women for over 25 years will be extended to men during national team training camps and matches.

Women and men will also receive a portion of commercial revenue from tickets for matches controlled by the USSF, with bonuses for sales, and each team will receive a portion of broadcast, participant and sponsor revenue.

Players will receive a 401(k) plan and will be subject to IRS limits on up to 5% of the USSF player’s compensation. That money would be deducted from the shares of commercial revenue.

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 really the turning point. Earlier, trying to negotiate a CBA with women and then negotiate CBA terms with men and vice versa, was really challenging. I think the real turning point That was when we were all sitting at the same table in the same room, working together and collaborating to reach this goal.”

The women ended six years of litigation over equal pay in February, calling for the USSF to pay $24 million, a deal if new collective bargaining agreements are 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.

Men’s union attorney Mark Levinstein said the agreement “ends more than 20 years of federation’s discrimination against USWNT players.”

“With the USWNTPA, USMNT players achieved what everyone said was impossible – an agreement that provides fair compensation to USMNT players and equal pay and equal working conditions to USWNT players,” he said. “The new federation leadership deserves tremendous credit for working with the players to achieve these agreements.”

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