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under a venue selection policy included as part of the settlement, the federation will “seek to provide equally acceptable venues and field playing surfaces” for the national teams.
Although the wage discrimination claims widely seen as the centerpiece of the lawsuit remain at issue, the settlement on working conditions represents something of a breakthrough. There has rarely been much indication of rapprochement between the two sides. Indicative of the rancor were filings this spring by U.S. Soccer that disparaged women’s players as lesser than their male counterparts. The language in those filings sparked objections from both fans and sponsors and led to the resignation of former U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro.
But the players made it clear Tuesday that while a settlement is a positive step, it is mostly positive in their eyes because it allows them to focus on the wage discrimination claims. The plaintiffs were unable to move forward with an appeal relating to those claims until resolution of the working conditions claims through settlement or trial.
The settlement on working conditions offers no indication that the two sides are any closer to resolving their long-standing differences on issues of compensation.
In her statement Tuesday, Parlow Cone reiterated the federation’s “standing offer to discuss contract options.” In a March letter, Cordeiro outlined a proposal that U.S. Soccer contends would pay the men’s and women’s national teams using the same pay structure.
At issue is FIFA prize money, with women’s players arguing that they deserve the same prize money for winning the World Cup, as one example, as men’s players would receive for winning that tournament. U.S. Soccer argues that given the differences in the prize money apportioned by FIFA for men’s and women’s events, doing so would cause the federation financial harm.
An appeal could be a lengthy process, almost certainly stretching beyond both the rescheduled Olympics next summer and the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement between U.S. Soccer and the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association. The union representing national team players is not a party in the lawsuit.
France received $38 million for winning the 2018 Men’s World Cup. The U.S. received $4 million for winning the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
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