American Women Say 9th Circuit Magistrate’s Court Did Not Consider Success
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – The players of the United States women’s national soccer team have urged a federal appeals court to reinstate their equal pay lawsuit, saying their greater success than American men do had not been taken into account by a trial judge who dismissed their case.
Players led by Alex Morgan sued the American Football Federation in March 2019, claiming they were not paid fairly under their collective agreement in effect until December 2021, compared to what the team male receives under its agreement which expired in December 2018. The women demanded over $ 64 million in damages plus $ 3 million in interest under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964.
U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner in Los Angeles rejected the salary request in May 2020, ruling that the women had rejected a pay structure to play similar to the men’s agreement and accepted base salaries and benefits superior to those of men, who failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. The women asked the 9th US Court of Appeals to overturn the trial court’s decision and get their salary demand back on track.
“He ruled that the compensation for women and men was equal because the teams received roughly the same amount per game,” the players said in their appeal brief filed on Friday. “This approach was one measure of compensation (games played) but not the other (performance). This was a big mistake, as performance bonuses make up the bulk of players’ salaries, and women were the best in the world, while men were much less successful.
The players said that “indeed, the court ruled that the pay is equal if a woman can get the same amount of money as a man by working more and achieving better results.”
The USSF brief is due by August 23, and the optional player response brief is due 21 days after the USSF submission. The case will likely be assigned to a panel of three judges for oral argument.
“US Soccer is committed to ensuring equal pay and ensuring that our national women’s team remains the best in the world,” the federation said in a statement. “In ruling in favor of US Soccer on the complaints of player wage discrimination, the district court correctly noted that the women’s national team had negotiated a different pay structure than the men’s national team, and correctly estimated that the National Women’s Team was paid more both cumulatively and on average per game than the National Men’s Team.
The United States have won the last two Women’s World Cups and headed to this summer’s Olympic women’s soccer tournament as favorites, then lost their opener 3-0 to Sweden on Wednesday in Tokyo.
The parties reached a settlement on December 1 over the working conditions complaints which calls for charter flights, hotel accommodation, site selection and professional staff support fair to that of the men’s team. The USSF says it also pays for matches it controls, but not for tournaments hosted by the world’s soccer governing body.
FIFA awarded $ 400 million in cash prizes to the 32 teams in the 2018 Men’s World Cup, including $ 38 million for the French champion. It awarded $ 30 million to the 24 teams at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, including $ 4 million to the United States after the Americans won their second straight title.
FIFA raised the total to $ 440 million for the 2022 Men’s World Cup, and its president, Gianni Infantino, has offered FIFA to double the women’s prize to $ 60 million for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, in which FIFA has increased the number of teams to 32.
The players criticized the USSF for selling marketing deals that cover both men and women.
“The federation has refused (and still refuses) to allow companies to enter into sponsorship-only deals with the USWNT, even though some sponsors want to do so because they see the USWNT as the most marketable team.” the women said in their brief.
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