Finally, after a six-year legal fight, past and present players of the US women’s national football team have agreed to a settlement over equal pay with their governing body, US Soccer.
In the new deal, one of the biggest in USA soccer history, the players were promised $24 million ($AUD $33.2 million) and a promise of equal bonuses and prize money as their male counterparts.
“US Soccer has committed to providing an equal rate of pay going forward for the Women’s and Men’s National Teams in all friendlies and tournaments, including the World Cup,” the terms of the deal, sent to AFP, said.
Until recently, US Soccer had based bonuses on payments from world governing body FIFA.
The FIFA World Cup prize pools have been astonishing, with the male players receiving a much better deal.
FIFA provided a $400 million prize pool for the men’s 2018 World Cup, which included $38 million being paid to the winners France. The women’s World Cup prize pool was $30 million, with $4 million going to winners USA.
US women’s national football team star Megan Rapinoe has been the face of the campaign and an outspoken critic of the pay received by women footballers.
In an interview with ABC after the deal was announced, Rapinoe declared it was a ‘great day’ and she hopes US Soccer can now ‘move forward with setting up the next generation so much better than we ever had it’.
“I think we’re going look back on this day and say this is the moment that, you know, US Soccer changed for the better,” Rapinoe said.
“Obviously, we can’t go back and undo the injustices that we faced but … we know that something like this is never gonna happen again.”
Fellow US women’s national football team star Alex Morgan told the ABC the deal is a ‘monumental step forward in feeling valued, feeling respected and just mending our relationship with US Soccer’.
The legal battle began in 2016 and in 2020, US Soccer and the US women’s national football team agreed on the working conditions set out in the deal which addressed differences in travel, accommodation and playing surfaces. The US women’s national football team’s equal pay claim was thrown out by a judge.
“Getting to this day has not been easy,” US Soccer and the US women’s national football team said in a statement announcing the deal.
“The US Women’s National Team players have achieved unprecedented success while working to achieve equal pay for themselves and future athletes … We look forward to continuing to work together to grow women’s soccer.”
The US women’s team is one of the best women’s football teams in the world and have won four World Cups since the tournament began in 1985.