​US women footballers have been fighting it out in a courtroom to get equal pay. The US Soccer Federation has been under fire and the controversial equal pay lawsuit took another tragic route for the US Women’s National Soccer Team. The team has lost their lawsuit as a US district court judge batted down the unequal pay claim by players, led by Alex Morgan. However, the judge allowed their allegation of discriminatory working conditions to go to trial as the Civil Rights Act claims. The judge overlooked the USWNT’s allegations of gender discrimination and ruled in favour of the US Soccer Federation, and declared the team have not been underpaid.

The women’s team was expecting a big win – an award of $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But the ruling was a surprising, huge setback for the players. “The history of negotiations between the parties demonstrates that the WNT [Women’s national Team] rejected an offer to be paid under the same pay-to-play structure as the MNT [Men’s National Team], and the WNT was willing to forgo higher bonuses for benefits, such as greater base compensation and the guarantee of a higher number of contracted players,” US District Judge R. Gary Klausner wrote, The Hindu reported.

Key Takeaways:

  • US women footballers suffered a major setback in its gender discrimination lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation as they lost the case.
  • A judge batted down the USWNT’s claims of unequal pay, ruling in US Soccer’s favour.

“Accordingly, plaintiffs cannot now retroactively deem their CBA worse than the MNT CBA by reference to what they would have made had they been paid under the MNT’s pay-to-play terms structure when they themselves rejected such a structure,” he said.

A trial is scheduled for June 16

“We are shocked and disappointed with today’s decision, but we will not give up our hard work for equal pay,” Molly Levinson, spokeswoman for the women’s players, said in a statement. “We are confident in our case and steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that girls and women who play this sport will not be valued as lesser just because of their gender,” she stated adding that a new trial date has been set and it is scheduled for June 16 in federal court in Los Angeles.

Now players intend to appeals against Judge R. Gary Klausner’s decision, and this process could delay the trial into 2021 or later.

“If you know this team at all you know we have a lot of fight left in us. We knew this wasn’t going to be easy, change never is,” defender Becky Sauerbrunn wrote on Twitter.

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Fighting for gender equality

The team is fighting over wage gap and using their Women’s World Cup performance to campaign for equal pay. They moved toward mediating a federal lawsuit in 2018 in which Soccer players, who include some of the world’s most famous female athletes, accused their federation of years of “institutionalised gender discrimination” that includes inequitable compensation when compared to players on the men’s team.

Megan Rapinoe has been leading the way in the women’s national team’s lawsuit against US Soccer, accusing the federation of gender discrimination.

“I want you to know that U.S. Soccer is committed to doing right by our players, and I’ve been encouraged by the public comments from players expressing their desire for a cooperative approach. I remain optimistic that we can find common ground,” Carlos Cordeiro, the US Soccer President had earlier claimed. “Together, I believe we can get this done,” Time.com reported.

READ: Look Beyond Cricket, Our Sportswomen Are Winning Golds!

Feature Image Credit: The Guardian

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