Last July, 23 million Americans were glued to their televisions to watch the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup final between the U.S. and Japan. The game, which saw the women’s national soccer team emerge victorious by a final tally of 5-2, was the most watched soccer event in the history of U.S. television and rivaled the 23.5 million viewers who tuned in for Game 7 of the 2014 World Series.
The team’s march to the World Cup victory not only captivated the nation, but also galvanized interest in the sport, making players like Hope Solo and Carli Lloyd household names, and causing sportswriters across the nation to follow the team with greater regularity.
Interestingly enough, five star players on the World Cup championship squad — including both Solo and Lloyd, and their teammates Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Alex Morgan — recently filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation, is engaging in illegal gender discrimination by paying members of the men’s national team considerably more.
In support of this contention, the complaint, which appears to have unanimous support among team members, makes some of the following allegations:
- A 2015 financial report from the USSF indicates that the women’s team is paid nearly four times less than the men’s team despite making nearly $20 million more in revenue.
- Both the men’s and women’s team are obligated to play in at least 20 so-called “friendly” games each year with the men guaranteed $5,000 per game — win or lose — and the women guaranteed only $1,350 — if they win.
- While members of both the men’s and women’s teams get $15,000 for qualifying for the Olympic team that will compete in this summer’s games and another $15,000 for making the roster, the per diem rates for the men are $15 higher for the men than the women.
For its part, the USSF has indicated that it’s ready and willing to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with the women’s national soccer team that specifically addresses this issue.
Stay tuned for updates …
If you believe you’ve been victimized in any capacity by discriminatory practices on the part of your employer, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.