US women’s football team settles equal pay row for $33m

The long-running dispute over equal pay between US women soccer players and their governing body has been settled with a deal in which they are promised $33 million plus bonuses that match those of the men’s national team.

Tuesday’s agreement means the US Soccer Federation will pay $US24 million ($30 million), about one-third of what the players had sought in damages, and establish a $2.8 million fund to benefit players in their post-soccer careers and charitable efforts aimed at growing the sport for women.

The USSF committed to providing an equal rate of pay for the women’s and men’s national teams – including World Cup bonuses – subject to collective bargaining agreements with the unions that separately represent the women and men.

“For our generation, knowing that we’re going to leave the game in an exponentially better place than when we found it is everything,” 36-year-old midfielder Megan Rapinoe said.

The settlement was a victory for the players, who sparked fans to chant “Equal Pay!” when they won their second straight World Cup in France in 2019.

US women have won four World Cups while the men haven’t reached a semi-final since 1930 and failed even to qualify in 2018.

Five American stars led by Alex Morgan and Rapinoe began the challenge with a complaint to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in April 2016.

Women sued three years later, seeking damages under the federal Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

“It’s so gratifying to feel like we can start to mend a relationship with US Soccer that has been severed for so many years because of the discrimination that we faced,” said Morgan.

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